This Is What the Autism Commune in My Head Looks Like


There are times in the middle of the night — when I get all woe-is-me because my kid won’t sleep — that I’m so grateful for my cyber friends who are up with me, either because their kids aren’t sleeping either or they live in Australia. (I love the Aussies! Holla!)

And then I imagine what it would be like if we all actually lived together… in the beautiful autism commune in my head. Would you like to take a tour? (This is not real. This is in my head. I promise I’m not trying to sell you a timeshare. Go with it.)

First of all, it’s not really a commune. It’s more like a gated community. I’m claustrophobic, and I would have to leave once in a while. Anyway…

Welcome to Spectrum Estates, a judgement-free zone for families with autism. Our community, bordered by a fence, has a security staff specially trained in helping folks on the spectrum.  Lifeguards are on duty 24/7.

peace Our streets are arranged according to sensory-sensitivity. Sensory-avoidance homes are landscaped during the week while the children are at school. The houses with sensory-seeking kids are landscaped on weekends so the kids can stim off the lawnmowers. Ditto for leaf blowers and snow plows. We don’t worry about spraying for mosquitoes because this is my fantasy and mosquitoes don’t exist.

The climate is warm; clothing is optional. Obviously.

There are several restaurants that cater to every possible food allergy and offer seating choices based on sensory preference. Need booth seating for four in a noisy room full of music and balloons? No problem! Need a quiet corner with plush seats and bland food? We can do it! Our date night restaurant features a separate respite room that serves platters of tater tots and Yoo-Hoo. There’s something for everyone!

Here at Spectrum Estates, we have a community center with specially-designed rooms for obsessions of all kinds. Be sure to visit our displays of model trains and vacuums! Our community center is a place for therapy and playtime, as well as respite care. We have a gym, pool, climbing wall and carousel. There is a tiki bar — no cash necessary. Expenses are covered by member dues and puzzle piece magnet fundraisers. “Support Autism. Buy This Mama a Mudslide!”

One of the best features of the community center is the Moonlighters room. Softly lit and lined with comfy couches, it is a safe place for sleepless children to be sleepless while parents nap or keep each other company. A selection of bean bag and swing chairs are arranged in front of a number of dim screens featuring soothing favorites like Good Night, MoonBaby Einstein, and Tales from the Tracks. We shuffle around in our pajamas and snuggies and clutch cups of coffee or beer. It looks like finals week in college… only with kids.

The center offers social activities and support for the siblings as well. There’s a specially-stocked kitchen in the Sibling Station full of all the junk food we can’t keep in our homes. They can eat gluten and food dye to their heart’s content! We have movie nights featuring anything other than Thomas the TrainThe WigglesBlue’s Clues, and Fraggle Rock. Be sure to stop by for our helpful weekly seminars covering topics such as “So Your Brother Dropped Trou in Front of Your Girlfriend” and “Making Echolalia Work for You!”

And of course, the Spectrum Estates activities director organizes plenty of social and wellness events for the parents — yoga, book clubs, wine-tasting classes, wine-making classes, cooking with wine classes…

Everyone is invited to the birthday parties. Nobody gets mad if you can’t make it. The playground always has enough swings and the trampolines are surrounded by crash-pads. If your kid wants to wear a Santa hat in June, nobody asks why. If your child insists on showing neighbors his plastic bug collection, there’s no need to apologize. If your kid is naked in the front window, nobody will notice.

“Spectrum Estates: Where People Get It.”

Happy Hour is at 5:00.

This post originally appeared on Another Effin’ Autism Blog.

Meet more Mighty moms. Like us on Facebook.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

When I Overheard a Conversation Between My Son With Autism and His Brother

Author note: The following was a conversation I was lucky to be privy to between my two sons over the course of about 20 minutes. I’ve omitted several things for privacy and cleaned up others, while trying to keep the language as close to the original conversation as possible. I received both sons’ permissions before [...]

My 15 Truths of Parenting Special Kids

1. Parenting a special needs kid does not make you a superhero. I seem to have given some of you the wrong impression. I’m not Supermom, not even close. I rarely cook anymore. Most of the time we all eat different foods at different times — especially in the summer months. I don’t spend enough [...]

When You Get Your Child's Diagnosis, Remember This

When we have children, we have plans. They’re not even out of the womb, and we have plans. God, did we have so many plans. To think back, we parents started planning our future and future of the little human we carried the minute we found out we had created something wonderful. We had all [...]

10 Things I've Learned From Being a Special Needs Parent

10. Keep your judge-y panties in check. I can’t tell you how many times my son, Timothy, and I have been victims of judgmental eyes. And until it happened to us, I had no idea how it felt. It sucks, people. Please don’t stare at my child when he is lying on the floor in Wal-Mart [...]