Autism Is Not a Dirty Word
I’ve debated sharing my story for a while, but I came to the conclusion that this should be shared because I know there are so many more parents out there like me. I hope this can help someone out there.
No one gets pregnant and thinks about having a child with special needs. We all imagine a happy and healthy baby, right? After having one child and expecting my second, I thought I knew it all. There wasn’t anything life could throw at me that I couldn’t handle, right?
Oh, was I wrong.
Not wanting to compare my children because every person is a unique individual, who developments differently, I brushed off a few of the more noticeable signs that my second son had any challenges. Things like not talking by 18 months, or getting upset with certain textures or situations. I chalked it up to just being “different”. I just wanted him to be “normal” so I made excuses for all the intricacies. Over five years later, through countless hours of therapy, specialists and tests, I finally realized that my son was more than different.
My baby boy is beautiful, energetic, joyful, smart, happy, and recently diagnosed as autistic.
Honestly, it is more comforting to finally know the truth now so we can move forward and learn how to give him what he needs. It has been a long journey for me to come to that realization. And you know what else? I finally realized there is nothing special about “normal”. My son brings challenges to our lives, yet he also brings a joy that is indescribable. He has given me a vision for my life that I couldn’t have seen before. He gives me a deep appreciation for the fact that so many parents and children are living with challenges in their lives and yet we never talk about it. It isn’t just autism – it is all the children that are living different lives: those with cognitive disabilities, hearing loss, neurological disorders, paralysis, cancer, etc. Parents of children with special needs see the world through different eyes because ordinary tasks, like going to the store, eating at a restaurant, riding the school bus, or dressing up for Halloween, look extraordinarily different and possibly scary for their children.
So instead of hiding away, pretending that it doesn’t exist, or that it is a bad word, I’m proud to say that I have a child with special needs. My hope is that we, as parents, can all learn to embrace those that are different, while giving some extra love and patience with those born extra special.