My son was diagnosed with autism at 19 months old. He’s only three so I haven’t been in the game long enough to know all the intricacies of what having a child with autism entails.
I’ve done some homework though, and I know the saying “when you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” I also know that as the spectrum goes, without putting too much emphasis on labeling, that some people are more severely impacted than others.
I understand that there’s an Autism Awareness Campaign, apparently so people are more aware of what autism is? Not sure how well that’s going. Here’s what happened:
Granny had a conversation with one of our neighbors who was informed that First born is autistic.
Reaction: “Oh no, I’m so sorry!”
Granny put a stop to that pity party immediately: “Oh no, honey! Don’t feel sorry for us. He’s healthy and happy. There is nothing wrong with him.”
Good going, Granny. We like to say he just thinks differently!
I know there are some people who will say that they wouldn’t change their child for anything, and I’m inclined to agree to an extent. I have read a few scathing posts from mom’s about other autism mom’s who are parenting autistic kids with behaviors that they find overwhelming. I’m beginning to learn the term “ableist” and how these judgmental mom’s think that parents should not want to change anything about their kids because they are perfect.
Guess what? No, they are not perfect. They are little people who are works in progress just like we all are.
I guess it’s perfectly okay to share an opinion, but when you condemn or dismiss someone without walking a mile in their shoes…well, that’s not okay.
You might want to check these out too:
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When I learn about other parents struggling with their autistic kids, I feel like I can’t relate much. I don’t know if it’s because my kid is only 3 and maybe we haven’t hit that milestone yet or if my kids just won’t ever behave that way period. When someone shared with me that they have to “wipe my kids ass” day after day and “I’m just tired,” I am a little taken aback and immediately feel sorry that they’re going through something. But on another level I simply can’t relate. For instance, I only have to ask my son “Did you poop?” To which he happily replies,
Yes, I pooped!-First born
There was the time I walked in and saw what appeared as brown goo covered baby wipes strewn across the living room floor. I then came to a pooped filled diaper and my son sitting near it crossed legged, tapping away on his tablet. He had removed his diaper, wiped himself, and put on a new diaper. I thought it was funny and probably what other 2 year Olds had done at some point.
I’m not sure how funny I would have found it if my son was 33 and I had walked in on him.
Yes, in a heartbeat.
I am a neurotypical (that I know of. Sometimes I wonder…) black woman and I use my own life as one example of why I feel this way. Does this make me ableist? I worry about that.
I also worry that when his father and I die, he may not have anyone to take care of him properly.
Maybe someday I’ll go into more detail about my thoughts.
As his Mom, I want him to love himself and prance about without a care in the world of what anyone else thinks about him. It’s very important to me that all my kids are equipped to withstand the harsh realities of life and that they are armed with love and esteem of self.
My son thinks and behaves differently than most other kids, and that’s okay. I am grateful everyday that there are people who are willing, able, and smart enough to help him learn to communicate effectively and interact socially with others.
I’m the mom of an autistic person who still has lots of learning and growing to do as a parent. I know our neighbor meant no harm when she expressed genuine sympathy for our autistic little human.
I think people are aware of the word autism, but not so much what it means. As I educate myself, hopefully I can share a bit of info with someone else who doesn’t quite understand the spectrum.
I know from now on my mouth will say “My son is autistic.”
But my whole body vibe will be “Don’t you dare feel sorry for him, honey! He’s good…”