Mother of Autism
It was just a week or so ago when the conversation I'd been dreading their whole lives found its way into my life.
I told them they are on the autism spectrum.
I didn't mean to, but observing a severely autistic boy at the doctor's office and answering questions about him somehow led us to talking about their issues.
They saw too much of him in them, they understood him more than they realize they should, and they also thought he was normal.
The conversation actually went better than I could have dreamed - because not only were they unaffected, they seemed to feel like they had been having successes a lot lately, so maybe that little boy could too. They saw him as just at a different place in his journey than they are. I liked this perspective deep in my soul, and I encouraged it in them.
We never know what the causes truly are, why certain symptoms get better and why some do not. We do know this is a lifelong "thing" they will have to deal with. It helps when people understand them. Understand us.
Since all three of my boys are on the autism spectrum, and all three manifesting it very differently, it can be hard when people see us once a week or now and then to understand what we go through. They don't see what goes on when they're not around. They like to tell me my kids are normal.
But I know they are not "normal" (whatever that really means), but I do know they are doing well. I feel confident that the many burdens my boys have won't always feel so great on their shoulders, or mine. Because not only are they improving, they are also getting older. I see in them coping skills to deal with their own issues, instead of screaming them out. It doesn't mean these issues go away, it just means they've learned how to function in this world a little better.
They've always been the boys in the window - looking off into some other world that I don't quite understand. I visit that place, but I'm always just a visitor. As they learn to turn around and see the rest of the room behind them, I'm thrilled that we can have the love between mother and child I always dreamed of. But I also know they long for, and are most comfortable, in that window.
And these figures do not even include PDD, Asperger's or other spectrum disorders.I'm sure you know someone who is affected by autism. Use this month as a reminder to not only think of them and all they go through, but maybe even educate yourself a little more to be able to teach others around you as well. My children long to be accepted and understood, just like every other child. But unlike every other child, they are usually not accepted or understood.
Let's change that, together.
Great autism resources: