What Autism Means to Me

I usually keep this blog purely related to organizing and decluttering, but April is Autism Awareness Month, and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. As defined on the Autism Ontario website, Autism is a “complex developmental disability...(that) impacts the typical development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.”  My 5yo DS has Autism, and his twin sister does not.

 

For me and my kids, Autism means I:

  • am a “squeaky wheel” to get school administration to involve my DS in daily activities

  • have to attend class trips, knowing that DS won't be manageable after the first 10mins so he and I will leave, while his twin sister stays with their class

  • drop everything when someone within hearing distance cries because it's a trigger for a meltdown for him (mom's groups with babies are “interesting”)

  • literally sit on my son during a meltdown because he's too big and strong for me to isolate from over-stimulus otherwise

  • get “looks” from other adults whenever he has a meltdown in public

  • have to explain to other kids why DS is VERY protective of his letters and playdoh

  • correct people when they say DS is “autistic”...just like how you don't say that someone is “cancerous”; DS has Autism, he isn't Autistic.

  • have to clean up our entire home after DS has had a meltdown throwing everything everywhere when DD is crying because she's hurt herself

  • am awake for 2 – 3 hours at a time about 3 or 4 nights a week because sleep and Autism do NOT go together

  • 5 years and counting of changing diapers

 

BUT Autism does not define my son. He:

  • is the happiest child I've ever met

  • has the biggest and brightest smile I've ever seen

  • can do 100 piece puzzles in less than 5 mins

  • uses playdoh and modelling clay to spell words EVERYWHERE, including on walls and windows

  • is very protective of his twin sister

  • makes my heart melt with every new word he adds to his vocabulary (including saying “Good night mama” the other night – not bad for a child who is “non-verbal”)

  • is obsessed with Elmo

  • makes everyone fall in love with him

 

As @talkaboutautism mentioned on Twitter this morning, “Once you've met one person with Autism, you've met ONE person with Autism”. Autism is a SPECTRUM Disorder – everyone is different.

 

People tell me that they don't know how I do it, especially as a single parent...it's very simple...he's my son, and I love him.

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