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About the Poem

Raising a child with autism can be emotionally draining on a parent, particularly when there is a communication delay involved. My son is four years old and almost never uses words practically. He has only used a handful of words in his lifetime and has never spoken in a complete sentence. He has never said "I love you" to me or his mother, never sings his favorite songs and never speaks of what he experiences in his own little world.

Despite the difficulty inherent in raising a child with autism I am convinced that any parent can find the love in his or her heart required to do such a task. Despite the language barriers a parent will also know that his or her love is not being cast into a vacuum but, rather, that love is returned and multiplied a hundred fold. My poem is a testimony of this truth.

I have chosen the traditional format of a Petrarchan Sonnet for this poem. A Petrarchan Sonnet has a rhyme scheme of (usually) abbaabba cdecde. The first eight lines present a problem or argument and the final six the resolution. Sonnets are often avoided by poets who may not find the strict structure to their liking. I hope, after your reading of my sonnet, you are in agreement with me that the rigid format of "My Autistic Son" in no way minimizes the impact of the message.

My Autistic Son

Autistic shackles hold your little tongue
From telling me the punch line of the joke
That caused your fits of laughter to provoke
Excited happy tears. You've never sung
Your fav'rite Barney song and, when you clung
To me that winter night when you awoke
To bitter, fearful sobs, you never spoke
A word of what tormented one so young.
Although autistic shackles bind his speech,
His love is blazoned on his beaming smile.
Although I missed the punch line of that jest,
I laughed myself to happy tears. And each
Dark night when he awakes and fears defile
His sleep, in Daddy's arms he finds his rest.

© 1999 Jim Bouder Please respect the rights of the author and Passions in Poetry. If you would like to use this poem on your own web page, please contact the Author. Thank you.

74 Visitor Comments

Tina
I tutor autistic children. In your poem, I heard the love and pain that is so intertwined in a parent's daily life. Never has it been so beautifully put.
Tammy
This was a good poem my nephew is autistic. He is now 7yrs old and still can not talk. He trys but nothing ever comes out. i wished i knew why children are born with that because they have life to live to.
Caren
I also have a child that suffers from spina bifda and fluid in the brain as well as autisim. This poem touched me it made me laugh and cry It helped me see he and I are not alone. Thank you
aishath
It's a reallly nice and a very touching poem. I really liked this poem. )
Gillian
I, too, have a son with a severe mental disability and feel this poem from the bottom of my heart. The message of the parent being the sole comforter of the disabled child is so strong in this poem. superb!
Kim
I seldom cry. I am not an overly emotional person. This poem brought tears rolling down my cheeks. It touched my heart in a most profound way. I can sympathize with all those parents who ache to get inside the mind of their cherished children. Thank you.
Crystal
This was a great poem. I too, am the mother of a 10 year old Autistic son and I wouldn't trade it for the world! Times can be tough, but the good times make up for the tough times. Good Luck!
elyse
As a single mother of an Autistic son, I have fought for him every day since he's been on this earth. It can be draining, that is certainly true. Sometimes I feel all alone in trying to do what is right for my son. Never let it be said, however, that I won't fight for him and love him with all that I have until I am no longer here. Your poem was beautiful, inspiring, and heartfelt. I know your struggle, pain, love, and laughter. I feel blessed to have been given my Autistic son. I was told that God knows who is special enough to love special children. As exhausting as it can be, I wouldn't trade my son for anything or anyone in the world!
Judith
I may not be a parent yet ! But i was touch by the poem you wrote. I'm in SPED School and i know how it felt. God Bless
Mary
I also have an autistic son and I have a friend who is the father of an autistic child. These are very "SPECIAL Children". Your poem certainlly touched my heart. Thank you.
susan
I can relate to this poem as i to have an autistic son.
Tamara
I too have a son that battles this, although my son is 8 years old now I can understand fully! This poem brought tears to my eyes! Although I can now have the pleasure of listening to my son while he speaks I remember the days when his tongue spoke not a word.
zachary
I loved it, wow.
Mary
We have two beautiful autistic grandsons. Only someone who has been through a night filled with "terrors", that a precious little one cannot communicate, could have penned such insight. May your son experience sweet peace at night, as we pray for sweet peace for our twins.
josie
i loved it !
Morag
Incredibly moving, this beautiful poem made me cry. As the mother of a non verbal autistic son you have described better than I ever could the highs and lows of our daily life. God bless you & your beautiful son.
Emma
My son is 5yrs and has just been diagionised as autistic, although we had always thought he was, it still is a massive shock ( tears still running down my face for my lost child ) I read your poem its really rather beautiful and you Jim remind me of Zak's dad, so much love and protectiveness in your heart. I feel it must be even tougher for dad as every dad wants a son to boy things with. breaks my heart.
Rebecca
Wow! What a great poem. I have 2 sons with autism. I know the mixed feelings parents who have children that have Autism go through. A lot of people say "I know what your going through, etc. " but the truth is they will never KNOW what us parents go through and how difficult it is. I can closely relate to your poem. Thanks
LANY
I REALLY WAS MOVED BY THIS PEOM BECAUSE MY SON ALSO HAS AUTISM.
Kay
Hi Jim I also have a son with autism,he is now 18 the struggle is long and hard but the joy you get with each small achievement is immense. Your poem brought tears to my eyes god bless you and your son.
Heidi
Wow, As a parent of a child with Autism, this says alot. My boy is 12yrs old and let me assure, as he grows into our world, you too will grow into his, and trust me its a fasinating one! Let him show you, and he will in time. Good luck to you and your family. Heidi
B
I to have an son with autism. I like this poem alot. It gave me chills as I read it. Although my son is now verbal. I know the pain that most of us parents feel when our child(ren) are in a world of their own. Thanks for posting such a great poem.
Serra
my littl brother is autistic and i love him more then words can say. your poem described him the way i see him he is my little prince and i will love him forever. this poem touched me in ways you cannot imagine thankyou
Victoria
AWESOME. Thank you for sharing your words. For I am also a parent of an angel like yours!.
Alisha
This poem touched me because I too have a 4 year old son with Autim.
eryn
i have an autistic nephew. i know how hard it is to be able to know what their feeling, or even what they want. and its very frustrating. but i love my nephew just as much as the baby growing inside of me now. i wouldnt trade him for no other. your poem really touched me, and i give you props for being a good parent to a child that is so hard to communicate with. god bless you and your family, i wish you the best
Shelley
IT IS A BEAUTIFUL POEM. I OOULD FEEL THE LOVE THIS MAN HAS FOR HIS SON.
Christopher
A great poem! My six year old is also Autistic and non-verbal but he's a loving and happy child for which I am gratefull! Your words have touched me deeply, thanks!
joanna
i really felt that this poem was really deep, i hope you all the best with your son and i feel that you are very talented
Courtenay
I LOVED THIS POEM ALOT. U ARE A WONDERFUL MAN NOT MANY PEOPLE ARE AS PROUD OF THEIR CHILDREN WHO ARE DEVELOPMENATLLY DELAYED. I AM A STUDENT STUDYING TO BECOME AND EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN. YOUR POEM NOT ONLY TOUCHED ME AS A PERSON BUT ALSO AS AN EDUCATOR. THANK YOU
Amy
Excellent. Couldn't be any better.
Kerrianne
I am currently a Special Education teacher; i am emotionally touched. The poem was simply BEAUTIFUL and well said. A fathers' love is priceless!
erika
The poem of this child realy got to me! and i just hope that the peace of this child that he is looking for will be ther. "I respect him just like i would respect another child that and pertect them from violents" of parents who try to hurt them. WITH MUCH LOVE, A. K. A PRINCESSES
Rachael
i love it my brother is autistic and i know how you feel
Jessie
I am a single parent of an autistic child and I can relate with this poem oh so well
Katy-lyn
This is an amazing and heartfelt poem. I loved it, and every single word strikes home for anyone that has ever had an autistic child.
Barbara
Your poem brought me to tears. I have an autistic grandson. He is six years old now.
Dacia
I love this poem and can relate to it because I too have an autistic son. Your words are encouraging and expresses the love your son gives you, even without his words but, his love.
Paul
Oh Jim, he captures a snapshot of the trials of parents and children in autism, to present to the uninitiated, yet he celebrates the joy of loving our children. Thank you Jim for your double edged sword.
ramon
This is a very good poem it shows your love toward your son i made friends with someone who was autistic. after you get to know them you really don't need to hear them speak although to you it's probably much more thank you for sharing your poetry
Diane
This poem tells, as far as words can, the deep heartfelt bond between the daddy and his boy - like the bond between my son and his son. Thank you for sharing this. Jayden's nanny
Edith
Jim, I wanted to say that your poem very very much touched my heart, because our youngest son, whose is four, is autistic and non-verbal. It is a journey everyday with all that he accomplishes, and the setbacks that happen from time to time. He is such a blessing, joy, and an incredible little boy. He has such strength and love that we feel very honored to know that God has selected us as his parents. May ALL our special children realize just how beautiful they truly are! Take care and God Bless!
val
i liked thispoem because i babysit an autistic boy and he really dosent speack and i know thats how his mother feels sometimes
Stormy
My son who is 11 years old was just diagnosed today with Aspergers syndrom, we alwaays new something was just not right but couldent get anyone to figgure out the problem. I researched many things to see if I could come up with anything, but Aspergers was the furtherest one from my mind. it is so nice to see that a father such as your self, loving your child so much to even take the time to write such a beautifule poem, although I am privleaged to hear him say I love you, he is very much a puzzle and will only speak when he wants to. thank you very much for sharing your wonderful thoughts with us. Stormy
Debb
How true the pain, the loss, the longing. As a parent of an autistic son, your poem spoke volumes and touched that place where we never share with others fully. our souls. Thank You
Amanda
I loved your poem. It reminds me of my little brother Dean who is also Autistic. I want to thank you for writing that poem, and I would like to read some more of them from you.
Annette
Your poem made me cry. I am attending Florida Metropolitan University in Orlando, Florida and I am doing a paper on autism and its effects on family. I thank God every day for those special children and ask God to give their families strength and health to continue caring for their loved ones. God Bless.
aditi
It's a very beautiful poem that touched my heart deeply and brought tears to my eyes. There's a touch of sadness in the life of the poet,nevertheless, he feels the pain of his son,who is a very special child,and loves him deeply. The poet is a very strong parent. I really loved this poem.
sarah
This poem really spoke to me. My nephew is autistic and i have watched my sister struggle to reach him. He is one of the greatest gifts to our lives. He has taught us unconditional love, perserverance, patience, and how to speak volumes without saying a word. Thank you, Jim, for putting all of the emotions that surround loving an incredible unique child.
Caroline
this poam affectedly me deeply, as the mother of 3 wonderful sons 2 of which are diagnosed as autistic. It's easy to express your love with a hug, it's hard not to do.
Gail
How touching those words are. I have an autistic child who never spoke a word until he was nearly 6 and thanks to sign language he now speaks alittle and how precious it is to hear him speak.
Michelle
This poem touch my husband and I very much. It brought tears to our eyes. Thank-you
Jackie
Thank you. My five year old son, Dominick, is autistic and your poem moved me to tears.
Connie
I could see my 5 year old grandson when he was 4 years old. He is making so much progress. The highlite of my life was the day his Mother called me and said that He finally said to her--I LOVE YOU Mommy. The second one was when they were visting us and he kept following me around and all at once he threw both arms around my waist and said "Big Hug"! Thank you for the poem.
Ian
Jim, I feel exacly like you do with our 8 year old autistic son. He has come a long way and he is ussing lots of words now, but I am still trying to figure out the punch lines of his jokes.
Jenn
Great poem Jim
Tammy
Your poem really touched my heart! I have an Autistic son who is 41/2 and it reminded me of how he has come so far and how hard he has tried. He is my special little man and I am proud of him!
Sandy
My son is autistic and I want to thank you for being able to express how I feel but was never able to put those feelings into words. Your poem is absolutely beautiful and very moving.
Nicki
Jim, as a parent you took me into your world of pain when you described comforting your son when he woke in the night. Then into the world of joy, thankful to be a parent.For whatever trials we are given that joy can never be taken & only riches given.
Mercedes
Had to stop the tears from coming. I went through the same when my son was 4 years of age - mild autism. But, now he's 10 and speaks in simple sentences. Patience is a virtual. Hoping you will also hear your child speak in sentences. Wonderful work!
rachael
what a wonderful poem and how beautiful it is. you really give some insight as to what it is like to have a child with autisim.
LISA
I REALLY AM GLAD YOU TOOK THE TIME TO WRITE THIS ONE DOWN. MY SON IS 4 ALSO SPEAKS QUITE A FEW NOUNS BUT NO SENTENCES.THESE STAGES OF LAUGHING THEY GO THRU IS SO TRUE. THEIR SMILE IS SO TOUNCHING ALWAYS SMILING,MY SON CODY.
denise
yes, this was truly beautiful. very meaningful. i think it does take special people to be able to raise autistic children, because i believe that autistic children are special and gifts from God. great, true love is what matters
TJ
I work with children who have autism. So many times I wish I could just crawl inside their heads and see/feel/hear what their autistic wonderland is like.
little
You are a talented writer! This piece was well crafted with plenty of impact.
Kalyn
My brother is autistic and I am happy to see this poem omn the site. I understand the author's pain. Thank You. Mr. bouder, you have made my day.
Anon
there was the tear in my eyes
aimee
That was the most beautiful poem I think I have ever read. I can't imagine the challenges that having a child with autism would present. The Lord certainly had Faith in you when He gave you such a special gift. He knew that you could mold, and shape, and learn, and love such a special child. May you be truly blessed with continued patience and good fortune throughout your life!!
Christie
This poem really touched me. It reminded me of my own autistic son.The author of this poem really put into words what its like to have a autistic child.
Kit
This was incredibly touching Jim. The love for your wonderful child shines brightly in this beautiful poem.
pua
i really like that poam it was absolutly terriffic keep up the great work it really explians about someone good luck
Kess
The author's love shines through in this ... amazing and touching. Poetically nothing short of perfect, as well ... Good job Jim.
Yvonne
Jim, Jim, I found your poem to be extemely moving and so true to life. A life that I know of only too well-my late sister's.I wrote a poem "Label Me Autistic" which, even viewed in a different perspective certainly compliments yours. Wishing you the best
anne
LOVELY!

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