Autism was once a thing I read about or heard about. Until 12 years ago when it was suggested that my oldest might have it. By that point, I was up for any diagnosis just to have a direction to follow. Drew is our first born, oldest grandchild in both families and amongst our group of friends so we were paving the roads baby! There was nothing unusual about him at birth. Healthy baby boy, all fingers and toes, walked early and babbled like any other kid, but we started to notice around 2 yrs old that he wasn’t saying as many words as he should and tended to do his own thing. By this time we had #2 and I was living day to day for my sanity with two kids in diapers alone.
At three Drew was in early speech intervention and his language progressed but soon it became evident that his behavior was regressing. By the time he was 4 I knew he was not a “normal” child, but I didn’t know what it could be. Fast forward two years we finally got our directional sign. Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the Autism spectrum. I wanted to throw a party. I had something to look up, something to research, a place where there were other parents JUST LIKE ME right?!
Wrong. See that word above? SPECTRUM – a continuous sequence or range. I dove into the Autism pool and tried to ask questions, tried to find common ground, tried to find help for my family but what did I encounter? Locked. Doors. It took me a better part of a year to realize this wasn’t a problem with me, this was a problem within the Autism community. See, because it’s a spectrum that means that if you meet one kid w/ Autism, then you’ve met ONE kid with Autism. Each is different and unique with their own quirks and behaviors. The spectrum ranges from those kids that don’t speak, have zero eye contact and hate to be touched to the higher function kids like Drew where the tendrils of Autism aren’t as evident.
So because my son, spoke to me. Told me he loved me, and gave me hugs. Because he made eye contact, even if it was short-lived, and wasn’t huddling in a corner or trashing my home every day with outbursts, I was shut out of our local Autism community.
Shut. Out. It was quite a blow actually. I’d been lost for so long, scrambling for any life-line and the one I found didn’t go anywhere. So I made my own way. Drew and I figured each other out. He’s on the verge of 14 this month, skinny as a bean pole, and 5’7″. He’s learning what prejudice means himself lately, navigating the gauntlet that is puberty and middle school. But you know what? We made it the first time, we’ll make it this time, and each time in the future. He’s a joy to have around. He’s taught us to look at life from a different angle and I wouldn’t give up a day of it.
My advice: have an experience or a situation you’ve had to deal with on your own? Don’t horde the knowledge. Share with others your trials and errors. Allow them in, you’ll find your life richer for it.
The Brain behind the Blog Hop – RJ Scott
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