Why Trying to Make My Son One of the ‘Normals’ Isn’t Worth It


It isn’t worth it trying to fit in.

Trying to force my 6-year-old son with autism to be like the “normals” (it just sounds better than “neurotypical,” don’t you think?) Sssshhh-ing him in McDonalds on the rare occurrence we’re brave enough to take him in when he’s making his happy sounds…

Wait a minute… Why exactly is this rare in the first place?

I’m not embarrassed of my child. Hell to the no. Do the gawkers wear me down? Absolutely. But why should we care so much? Why do I want him to conform; to be like everyone else?

He wouldn’t be Timothy if he didn’t make funny, silly, sometimes strange faces.

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He wouldn’t be Timothy if he didn’t make the couch rock back and forth with his happy stimming bounces.

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He wouldn’t be Timothy if he didn’t bring me to tears with a single word or gesture that other children his age said or did years ago. He wouldn’t be Timothy if he couldn’t, at the same time, bring me to my knees with sorrow or make my heart full with pride.

He wouldn’t be Timothy without autism. I couldn’t be Timothy’s mom (who happens to feel pretty damn lucky to have such a cool kid) without autism.

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Hang on a second. I probably could be Timothy’s mom without the autism.

But it wouldn’t feel this amazing.

This post originally appeared on The Book of Timothy.

Read more from Tricia Rhynold on The Mighty:
My Son With Autism Is Not Just a Number
A Letter to My Son With Autism
10 Things I’ve Learned From Being a Special Needs Parent

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