One of my favorite quotes is “If you have met one person with Autism, then you have met one person with Autism.” This spectrum our kids reside on is broad and for every spot on the spectrum there are difference’s to how their little minds work. When you say “Autism” to someone their minds immediately goes to the far side of the spectrum, to kids who have been personified on TV and movies! So when they see a kid like my Roo, they say things like “He doesn’t look Autistic!”
Very often you can look at someone and see that there is something different about them, but it doesn’t always work that way with Autism. Their is no autistic look. You don’t look at someone and go “Oh, yeah! Their definitely autistic!” You might be able to with down syndrome for example. But not “our” kids!
Depending on where your kid lands on the spectrum you might get a different response from the outside world! And depending on where they are on the spectrum you might react differently yourself. In the early stages of diagnosis, our initial reaction was how do we fix this? How do we make it go away? In my research to help my son come to his full potential, I have heard the term “cure” thrown around. We researched and read and cried and came to the realization that there is no fixing this. To fix this we would have to take away the very essence of who our son is, and that is not an option. I love the quirkiness that is my son. True, there are moments that I would love to eradicate, but in order to do that I have to eradicate him and that is something I am not willing to do.
I might feel different, if my son could not speak, if he was “lost” in a world I had no access to, if he was forever 3, if he poop smeared still, if we were over run with expensive medical bills and appointments and therapies and every one around was telling us this is it, it will never be more than this. If I had to worry what kind of life he was going to have after me, what would happen to him when I die, who will love him like i do? If I had to lay awake in bed at night thinking all these things I might want to cure him, Maybe?
But for us Autism means…
…that he’s a little quirky … that he knows way more than any 7 yr old should know about cartography and dinosaurs … that he CANNOT have seams in his socks … that his jeans cant be too stiff … that life has to work in a certain order … that the grocery store is overwhelming because theirs too many aisles, a loud speaker intercom, they spray smells in the isles for advertising and there are too many people … he can’t process milk protein without turning into baby jack jack from the incredibles … that certain tones send him spiraling out of control … that black and red are the only peaceful colors in the crayon box … that looking into people eyes hurts … that math comes before reading, ALWAYS … that we only need 2 or 3 hours of sleep … that we have to have his fleece blanket … that he doesn’t get his actions bother you or upset you or even if they hurt you … that there is no such thing as personal space … that he might laugh when you hurt or sad … that he doesn’t get the jokes … that the bus is too much and so is PE and recess … that even when he says he wants Lego’s all he really wants in the little men … that when he is frustrated that translates to angry … that he doesn’t feel pain or respond to it the way other kids do, if even at all … that he’s afraid of nothing and everything … that when he does let you in, he will never let you go … that he has to finish what ever it is he is doing or saying … that you don’t need friends when you have a Shermie Dog … that going out to eat will make us feel like fish in a bowl … that people stare a little longer than necessary … that the dinosaurs are lined up by type … that riding a bike (which we can finally do YAY!!!) or tying our shoes is near impossible … the list goes on
Sometimes you see a kid who needs disciplined, a brat! If you would look again you might see a kid whose out of his comfort zone and maybe frightened that things won’t fix themselves. You might noticed that the world is to loud and chaotic for him. You might see a kid whose crayon box holds a whole different set of colors, who colors the world in colors all his own. A kid who walks to a beat all his own. Honestly, I’m glad when you look at my son you don’t see Autistic, it just saddens me that you don’t the beauty and awe that is my precious little Roo.