As a Special Needs Parent, These Are All the Things I’m Supposed To Be


On any given day, I’m cast to play several roles at once, and I have no understudy.

I’m supposed to be an autism information help desk, fielding questions at the worst possible times, trying to get a melting-down kiddo off the floor. “I’m sorry. Did you ask if I’ve read Jenny McCarthy’s books? I couldn’t hear you over the screaming.”

I’m supposed to be completely unaware that there’s a young autistic man who can draw cityscape from memory when someone with the best intentions posts a picture of him on my Facebook wall. I’m suppose to be happy that they thought of me. I’m supposed to not mention that my kiddo can barely sign his name. I’m supposed to not mention that my kiddo prefers to communicate through scripts of conversations he remembers from two years ago.

I’m supposed to be an advocate for my son at school while not being a pain in the ass. I haven’t managed that one yet.

I’m supposed to watch the TV show “Parenthood.” I haven’t watched a single episode, and I probably won’t either. I haven’t read The Reason I Jump,” and at this rate, I’ll be 75 before I get to it. I live with autism. I’m not so eager to read about it or watch it on TV, which is funny because I expect you all to read this blog. What can I say? I’m quirky like that. I’d just rather escape to a mental vacation. Pardon me if I’d rather be watching “Downton Abbey.” Although let’s face it, I’m pretty sure Sherlock is an Aspie. (And a cute one at that!)

I’m supposed to teach my son to be independent, and yet I know there are some things he’ll never do. I’m supposed to never run out of motivation to keep at it. I’m supposed to be the one who keeps the momentum going.

I’m supposed to be the special person that God gave a special child too. Or a special child has made me a special person. I call bullsh*t on that. I got what I got. I’m not a saint. I screw up just as much as I would have if my kiddo was typical. There is no halo over my head.

I’m supposed to know what the meaning is behind every behavior he has, even when I’m not present to see it happen. School, I get it. I’m fluent in my kiddo, but seriously, sometimes I have no clue. You’re there. You’ll probably figure it out before I can.

I’m suppose to be a wife, daughter, sister and friend. I sometimes have a hard time balancing all these titles. My apologies if I suck at it. I’m really trying.

I’m supposed to be this beacon of positive attitude, when on most days at some point I panic/cry/scream in frustration at what’s been handed to us.

I’m supposed to make dinner tonight, and there’s a good chance I won’t remember to take out something to defrost. My patient but equally exhausted husband will eat whatever I do rustle up and will sweetly not mention this is the fourth time this week I made pasta.

I’m supposed to keep a house and do the laundry. All it takes is the kiddo to be home ten minutes from school for all of that to be undone.

I’m supposed to be asleep, but insomnia has other ideas.

I’m supposed to not care what others think of me, but I do. I can get 99 positive comments on a blog post, and it’s the one negative one I’ll be thinking about later. (A fun thing to do when you have insomnia.)

We’re about to start a two week break from school, so I’m supposed to be the entertainment director as well. He’s asking me to schedule what he’ll eat for lunch each day already. I’m trying not to panic.

I suppose we’ll just order another side of fries.

This post originally appeared on Autism With a Side of Fries.

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