I am pretty sure my thoughts and feelings on what autism means to me would be highly altered depending on our current struggles. A year ago if I wrote this blog post it would probably be filled with struggle, heartache, and a lot of complaining about our life and struggles. BUT today I have a very different view and outlook as to what Autism means to me.
The day after we were diagnosed, I took the day off work to process, and I am so glad I did. I never would have thought I would have struggled after that with the diagnosis, as I was expecting it. But that day all I could see floating around in my head was the word “Autism....Autism....Autism.” I knew nothing had changed with our son that day when we walked out with the piece of paper, but all of a sudden I was filled with an uneasiness and nervousness with regards to his future. What about a job, will he live on his own, how will he handle going to the school system, will he be bullied? Their is so much uncertainty with parenting, never mind parenting a child with special needs. Every day you have no idea if it will be a good day, an okay day, or am I going to need a whole bottle of wine by the end of the day? What will trigger him today, can we go to the grocery store, can he handle a new person today in our home?
As the days went on after our diagnosis, I began to feel more calm and settled with the word, Autism. It didn’t scare me, and over the last 6 months I would say I am very proud of the word Autism. My son has a beautiful uniqueness that no one else has. His personality, little quarks, mannerisms and view of the world are so wonderful to watch evolve and grow as he does. He has his own little language that is filled with wonder and joy, and he has full sentences, questions, statements, and phrases that only he understands. But I love it. It’s what makes him, him. I love that I am having such a unique and one of a kind parenting experience, and I am really seeing the joy in different parts of our lives that others don’t get. We still get lots of baby moments, of babbling and cooing, snuggling up like an infant, and their is something about watching your baby suck on their bottle. It’s primal, and I see beauty in that. I didn’t get to enjoy all those moments during infancy because we were in constant survival mode. So I am enjoying every moment I get now, capturing the memory of his little face while I rock him before bed.
I see beauty, amazement, and joy in Autism. People are usually quite surprised to hear my son is Autistic, I usually get “Oh really, he is so social!” Or, “He is so happy!” It’s like to be Autistic you are not seen, in a corner rocking, and unhappy all the time. This is far from the real picture of Autism. YES we have struggled, but you don’t have to forever. The children I have met on the spectrum or any child with special needs is actually quite magical, filled with joy and has a wonderful view on life. I aspire to have their view everyday.
My son has taught me to view the world in an entirely different way, to accept, not judge, and continually learn about others. I am not afraid to tell others my son has Autism, it is not a shameful word. My son is who he is, and he is teaching so many people about acceptance and understanding. How can their not be joy in that...
I am a mom to an amazing young son who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 2.5 years old. This blog is about the journey we have travelled as a family to discover how our son communicates and to be a happy child in a world that doesn't quite feel right to him. I am an Early Childhood Educator and I use my passion of play and individual needs to support our son to live a joyous and happy life.