At Linden Grove School’s annual Signature Event, Board President Jonathan Batross offered the following insights of raising three boys, two of whom have autism.
Good evening. My name is Jonathan Batross and I am the current Board President for Linden Grove School. More importantly, I am the father of three wonderful boys. When people hear that, they always say, “WOW, there must be a lot going on in your house all of the time.” They have no idea!
Besides the typical influx of friends, family, neighbors, and others, we have also had an army of therapists, aides, and consultants that turned my wife, Gail, into an Autism General Contractor. If you add on the myriad of doctor’s visits, speech, OT and PT appointments, testing, clinical studies, and their like, it’s no wonder that she is always worn out at the end of the day. It’s times like these that having a strong network of family support makes all of the difference.
When you have this level of interaction with and oversight of your children, you get to know who they are and what they’re about.
- Jonathan, our oldest and the one with typical development, had all the normal growing up issues, most of the normal brother to brother strife, but he also had two people in his life that could not communicate nor interact as others do. They often needed his help and they always needed his understanding. This is tough for a typical child. Growing up is hard, having “something different” in your family is harder. I am proud to say that this challenge led Jonathan to volunteerism and an internal belief in helping others. He is currently a junior at Loyola University in Chicago studying Environmental Sciences, with the hope of working at the CDC someday.
- Christian is our middle child and our mother hen!!! And he needs to be because Tyler, our youngest is the wild child. It’s actually very interesting to see the stereotypes of typical families play out in those with autism. It’s all of the same fun, amped up to 11! But back to Christian. When he was born we had never heard of Autism; there were no programs, no LGS (in its current state), and we thought that he was just quiet. Fast forward to now and Christian is a kind, caring young man that is occasionally overcome by anxiety and bouts of anger. Autism is no picnic and Christian is usually the sweetest kid ever, until he isn’t. He likes order, routine, and calendars. He very much likes calendars and the order of time. We see a lot of Gail in him (…including the anger sometimes…)
- Tyler Batross is 100% my child, a copy of his father without all of those pesky social filters that a typical child would have. He is kind and funny and mischievous and terrifying often at the same time. He has made Christian his second mom because he just wants to do whatever he wants, whenever that is! If Christian is Order, Tyler is Chaos. If you ask me which one of my children will be the next one to be visited by the police, I’ll always say Tyler! (He has already had the most interaction with them due to his escapism). All of that being said, everyone loves Tyler because of his good heart and how well he interacts when you get through the Autism shell.
For my final thought, and I alluded to it earlier, there were no places like LGS when Christian and Tyler were younger. We bounced around from therapy to therapy, hired our own team, consulted with typical schools and hospital systems, tried everything that was out there . . . And then we found LGS. Autism is hard and LGS makes it easier to deal with.
To the administration, the staff, the kids, my fellow board members, and anyone else who helps to educate our children, thank you to each one of you. You are making an impact.