If autism has a “look,” apparently my son doesn’t have it. To the casual observer, it might appear at times (when we’re not having a meltdown in the store because mommy did not take the correct route to the intended items of purchase) that everything is just fine and dandy with us.
In honor of Autism awareness month, I wanted to shine a little light on the subject from my perspective. We are always so quick to judge each other’s “mothering,” and we shouldn’t be. We need to give each other grace, because things are not always as they seem.
My 5 year old son was finally diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder last fall. He is an AMAZING boy who has come SO far, but unless you know him, and are around him a lot, you wouldn’t necessarily see or know of his daily challenges. So I would like to offer you a snapshot into what autism “looks” like in my house, and hopefully it will dissolve any preconceived notions or stereotypes you might have about this thing called autism. My son is high functioning and he DOES make eye contact (when he feels like it,) so you can wipe that requirement off your list of necessary symptoms. Here is a glimpse of what autism means in our family:
It means meltdowns because: mommy did not park in the correct space or next to the yellow jeep; the water and toothpaste were put on the toothbrush in the wrong order; we didn’t drive over the bridge; I didn’t “catch” the school bus that drove past us; I made us cross the street in the wrong spot…
It means feeding him through a g-tube because he refuses to eat.
It means therapies and more therapies EVERY WEEK.
It means being afraid to learn to swing, and not being able to ride a bike on his own yet.
It means having the same conversation over and over and over.
It means being screamed at in the middle of the night because you can’t figure out what is wrong, and they won’t or can’t tell you.
It means daily frustration and feeling like you just want to rip your hair out.
But is also means joy, and amazement, and wonder. It means learning patience and appreciating the little things.
So, don’t assume that the kid having a fit in the store is spoiled, or just needs more discipline. It could be that he has autism…and it is just really hard for his brain to process all the information bombarding him in the busy place. Give the mama some grace. They could both be dealing with more than meets the eye.