Why I Don’t Think Autism Is a Gift or a Problem


As Autism Awareness Month is coming up, I’ve been thinking about what the diagnosis means to our family.

Our official diagnosis anniversary will be a year in May. I’ve seen a lot of debate about whether autism is a gift or not. Some people think it is, and probably a larger portion feel adamantly that it is not. I don’t feel that it’s a gift and I certainly don’t feel that it’s a problem. To me, autism isn’t something Vegas HAS. To me, Vegas is Vegas.

All of his unique quirks make him who he is. It’s not something he developed or contracted. He was born that way. (We have a genetics test to prove it.) I don’t remember a day when I ever felt anything was wrong with Vegas. He crawled late, but he did this adorable scoot thing that we have tons of videos of. He walked on his toes, which we also thought was cute.

And the flapping. I loved the flapping long before I knew it was an indication of anything. I still do. I have an entire camera roll of flapping videos. It’s how I know what toys he wants for Christmas or what chips he wants at the store. It’s how he shows he’s happy, and no one will try to stop him for exhibiting his happiness in my presence without getting a polite “mind your own dang business.”

I can’t speak for how Vegas feels about not being able to verbally convey his wants/needs. I know he’s one of the happiest kids I’ve ever met.

We send him to therapy not because I want to change him, but because I can’t change the world. If I could make everyone go to therapy to understand Vegas, I would. But that isn’t an option, so the best I can do is help him understand everyone else’s way of doing things.

I don’t think Vegas having autism is a gift or a problem. I think Vegas is Vegas and if that fits the criteria for autism, then that’s fine with me. I wouldn’t want him any other way.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

How I Explained My Son's Autism Diagnosis to Him

My youngest child and I finally had “the Talk.” I had recently sensed that it was imminent, I knew that it was crucial, and I also had conflicting feelings about it. Many parents of children with special needs know what “Talk” I mean, and it’s not “the Birds and the Bees.” During this “Talk,” for [...]

When 2 Teens Found a Friendship No One Believed They Could Have

With all the stories about bullying and all the stories about the horrifying things the human race can do to each other, let me bring you another side, where friendship needs no words. This is what should be shared 6,000+ times. Meet Kreed, who is medically fragile, has autism and uses a device to communicate. [...]

How My Childhood 'Obsession' Inspired Me to Pursue a Career in Accessible Travel

Ever since I was a young child, I would perk up when I heard the worlds “vacation,” “airline ticket” or “hotel.” It’s still hard for me to contain my excitement. When I was young I was diagnosed with having Asperger syndrome and, as we know today, sometimes people with the condition develop obsessions. Travel just happens to [...]
Melissa's daughter

Why I Want the World to See My Daughter's Experiences With Autism

There was a woman who ostracized me for not keeping my child private. But yet she posted the video on her page along with many other articles of other children with disabilities all over her page. Why did she single me out? I don’t know. But I stopped and thought about it. This is why [...]