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What the Incredible Hulk Taught Me About the Spectrum

Courtesy of Ruth Hutzel

“That’s my secret, Captain. I’m always angry.” Bruce Banner’s iconic line in The Avengers struck a chord deep inside me. When I heard it, I was glad for the darkness of the theater, so that no one could see the tears welling in my eyes. That one line summed up everything I’d been feeling for the past three years.

Autism became a member of my family in the summer of 2009. Countless doctor’s appointments, evaluations, and assessments finally offered up an answer: Asperger’s syndrome. While I’m grateful that we know what we’re facing, deep inside there is rage. This is not how my son was supposed to be! This is a war that cannot be won, and one that will never end.

My son frustrates me with his endless questions about things that seem ridiculous. I don’t always understand his sense of humor—which frustrates him. His need for a rigid schedule makes me weary. Still, through all my angst, I realize that for me, his autism is a gift. My son is spectacular. He brings a unique perspective to things that I would not otherwise experience. He reminds me not to approach new people or ideas with preconceived notions. Because of him, my time on Earth has meaning; because of him, my time on Earth has joy.

I am his loudest advocate, his unconditional supporter. Nothing will ever change that. 

By Ruth Hutzel, mom of Will, 9