Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Deep End of the Pool

Do you know my fabulous friend Jess over at A Diary of a Mom? Please go read this post of hers before you proceed. I'll wait. Cue Jeopardy Music.

Done? Ok good. Let's get started then.

We swim in the deep end of the autism pool. Maybe not the deepest murkiest part but we are in pretty deep. Yes Boy Wonder is not very verbal. His social skills and play skills fairly non existent. He struggles to express his most basic wants and needs while we struggle to understand him.

But our struggles are just that. OUR struggles not your struggles. While your struggles are in the shallower end pool, they are no less challenging just different.

I've never once wished that Boy Wonder was less autistic, had HFA or Asperger's.  I've wished he didn't have autism at all. I wish no parent ever had to hear,"Your child has autism."

I empathize with your struggles and I celebrate your child's victories. But never once have I thought that your child has it easier then mine. I just think their challenges are different.

I don't want more company down in the deep end of the pool. It's crowded enough down here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Four Words For World Autism Awareness Day 2011

It's funny how four little words can change your life. Will you marry me? I want a divorce. You have a son. Your son has autism. I've had all of those things said to me. The last two are the only ones that really changed me. The very last one changed me irrevocably.

Four words that change your perception of what you thought the future would hold forever.  Gone forever the blissful ignorance of those kinds of things happen to other people and never ever to you. You become more aware of other kids development.

You learn acronyms, like PRISE, IEP, IDEA, and ABLLS. You learn about DAN Doctors, Bio Med, Floortime, ABA, VBA, ST, OT and PT. You try the  GFCF diet.

You are forever changed. Drastically and radically changed. You stop staying the "R" word. You judge others less. You find compassion and tolerance. Your patience and empathy grows.

You find out who will step up and be a real friend. You find out who will step away. You'll make new friends who are on the same path.

But I can say this with utter certainty, you now have a choice.  You can choose to be bitter over what you think you've lost or you pick yourself and move forward.  Your child standing in front of you. S/He needs you to dig deep and be more adult then you ever have been in your life. 

I promise progress will come sometimes painstakingly slowly and sometimes surprisingly quickly.

Now I have four words for you. You CAN do it.  And that's a promise.