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I Wish I Knew

This guest post is from Michael Rosen, Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications at Autism Speaks. 
 
 
On this fathers day I am thinking a lot about my 25 year old nonverbal son.
 
I think by now I understand him better than perhaps anyone.   Still, there are so many things I wish I knew…
 
What it is that he most wants to say when he phones three times a day?
 
What is it that he’s trying to say when he looks at me and opens his mouth without words coming out?
 
Why does he want to listen to Raffi day after day?
 
And why does Michael Jackson get him dancing in the car?
 
Why is it that some days he can’t stop staring at me and nodding while I talk to him, while on others he keeps his finger in his ear and won’t look my way?
 
 Why is it that he can so easily nod to say yes, but can’t learn to shake his head to say no and instead gives a push?
 
How does he so quickly pick up on who loves him and who is uncomfortable when he’s around?
 
Why do certain family photos transfix him in such an obsessive way?
 
Will he ever again say the word Dad that he said one day in a hospital bed?
 
And was his only spoken word by accident or design?
 
Why is it that sometimes he tries to hold back that huge smile when I show up for our date?
 
And why does just one smile from my Nicky so make my heart soar?