Sarah dreams of having the perfect family, replicating her childhood experience. However, she soon realizes her life is far from familiar as she and her husband, Jake, must learn to raise a child with behavioral challenges and various diagnoses. Sarah, in an effort to convince herself that her family is still picture perfect, hides her son’s diagnosis from those close to her and in doing so, blinds herself from the seriousness of his situation. After years of fighting public institutions to let him exist within the norms of society, Sarah eventually realizes she can no longer protect her son from the consequences of his actions. Eventually, the disruption that Adam causes to those around him is so extreme that Sarah and her husband make the choice to send Adam to a wilderness rehabilitation program. Once her son is away, Sarah must deal with the emotional and traumatic burden of Adam’s struggles that she has been internalizing for the last 15 years. Upon his return, she must finally learn to truly accept Adam and his most recent autism Spectrum diagnosis, in addition to acknowledging the effect her son has had on her own mental health. Adam, who was sent away by the only family he has ever known, now must also learn to accept his parents and learn to trust them again. Together, Sarah’s family must find a way to accept and understand the behaviors Adam cannot control, and support each other in helping him navigate an a-typical life in a typical society.
Now more than ever children are being diagnosed and labeled as atypical. In the privacy of their homes, parents are struggling to raise these children the best they can. Mothers and fathers also have different ways of parenting, especially when dealing with an atypical child. These parents must throw away any expectations they may have had concerning who they thought their child would be. At times life can be very discouraging and may even seem hopeless. However, these parents must find the strength to always fight for the child they love and to work together in doing so.
Every person I know has at one least one child who is more challenging and simply requires more energy, both emotionally and physically, from the parents. Parenting this child usually causes much stress in the household; especially between husband and wife. Parents everywhere, those with typical and atypical children are constantly disagreeing on how to raise their children. However, the one thing they can agree on is that they love their child and want to do what’s best for them. I believe this is the universal theme of parenthood.
©2018 Dani Tapper