How Ghost Adventures is Like My Son’s Life with Autism

Originally written May 10, 2013 at my personal site, My Favorite Son.


dreamstimefree_8484-150x150Ghost Adventures is my favorite show right now. It’s the only show I watch; I’m stretched for time and find it convenient to watch online whenever I wish. Each show offers a great history on the place they’re investigating, and I don’t have to watch the entire show in order to understand what’s going on.

But my admiration for Ghost Adventures is not why I am writing this. It goes beyond mere entertainment.

My son is autistic. He has been treated for several years and we have been satisfied with his slow but steady progress. We have gone through many different therapists and treatments. There have been times in the past when I’ve been very sad not knowing what the future holds for my son. I could say it’s been a trial. But it hasn’t. It’s been an adventure, much like the show.

I began watching Ghost Adventures in December of 2012.  I knew about it but because of the timing I was never able to watch it. On Christmas, I had an hour to myself and wanted a good laugh but found nothing online. I then decided on a good scare, and the search results brought up, “Ghost Adventures”.

The first full episode I watched, “Vulture Mine” was incredible. Who were these idiots? You’re not supposed to provoke the spirits (at least that’s what I learned in Catholic school). Didn’t the bulky guy realize he couldn’t smack down his spiritual opponent? But I watched, transfixed.

The more nail-biting Ghost Adventures episodes I watched, the more fascinated I was by their provoking. Calling out all spirits, good and bad, in pitch darkness. Just three men, alone with their hand-held cameras. This was crazy!

Or was it? After making the mistake of watching the “Bobby Mackey’s” episode before bedtime, I lay in my bed, thinking about good and evil on this earth. I wondered if I had the guts to do what they did, walking in a haunted place, no lights, with just my camera and imagination running wild.

In the quiet of my room, I realized the journey of treating my son’s condition is much like the journeys of the Ghost Adventures. Autism is like walking into a haunted building in pitch darkness. There are no guides to help you. Most of the research leads to dead ends, to autism treatments that are nothing but rooms of empty promises in an abandoned hospital. Doctors and other specialists lead you deeper and deeper into an unkempt maze of contradictory advice. The ghosts of quack treatments litter the journey into darkness.

Humans fear the dark because the unknown lies before them. But the Ghost Adventures crew does the opposite of what “normal” people do. They call out the dark. They wait for answers to their questions. If there is no response, they continue into the darkness, provoking the spirits. If their questions are answered, they seek out the source and not run away.

My journey into autism is like a Ghost Adventures episode. I walk into the darkness. I demand answers. I receive no response. I continue to provoke the unknown until I get an answer.  I will be ready for it, no matter how terrifying it may be. I will not run away.

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