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Living with Autism - Page: 1 of 12

Living with Autism

At the end of 1996 I had an accident in the home in Los Angeles, California. I was bleeding from the inside. At General Hospital my spleen was removed. Coming home, not fully recovered, my son Alexander, autistic, mildly mentally retarded and hyper active, I did not have time to rest and properly recover from the operation. I am the closest to my son, Alex; therefore I´m constantly busy with him when at home.

My mother, I am her only child, found out about my accident and sent me an airline ticket to Hamburg, Germany, to give me time to recover properly in February 1997. Once I saw my mother, I found out that she had cancer of the intestine. She was alone. I felt an obligation to be with her. I arranged for Alex to be placed temporarily into a group home. My wife came to Germany to help me to care for my mom.

With my mother about to die, but not knowing when, I flew to Los Angeles in August 1997 to bring my son to Hamburg. The flight was on LTU, a German airline on August 21st, 1997, from LA to Hamburg, over Dusseldorf. It was a very difficult flight. He was very hyper, on overdrive, being happy to be with me. The flight captain got so upset; he wanted to make an emergency stop before we were leaving the USA airspace. A doctor on the plane helped in that situation to calm down the pilot. We arrived in Dusseldorf on the morning of August 2, my mother´s last birthday, and the pilot informed Lufthansa about Alex. Lufthansa refused to fly us to Hamburg. We spent hours at the Red Cross at the Dusseldorf airport. Alex fell asleep on the floor. LTU wanted to give us train tickets. I refused; they drove us with the automobile to my mom´s in Hamburg, getting there at nighttime. This experience made it very difficult for us to decide for an air flight back to the USA to keep residency in LA.

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