What Autism Is at Our House
Sometimes this autism thing puts families and therapists in a little group, or club, and only we know the ins and outs, the rules… I post on Facebook and I blog about our lives, our trials, misfortunes, our joys and our triumphs. All in hopes that someone will be reading and will connect with us.
I want the people who don’t know as much about autism to feel a little closer to us, to not feel so out of our loop. I want people to understand our struggles and to share in our victories, small and gigantic. It makes my heart happy when someone comes up to me and says, “I read your post. It really helped me understand…”
Autism and my daughter, Emma’s, lifelong delays have varied throughout the years. We were told so many conflicting things when she was an infant and toddler. I stopped listening to “experts” and dove head first into books and the Internet. I learned how to make social stories, flash cards, replace chewing kitty litter with an apple instead, and on and on… until I found a knowledgeable occupational therapist and then a speech language pathologist that helped us on our journey. Then there were more therapists and pathologists and teachers and counselors. Many of these people are more than just professionals to me — they have become like family.
I am definitely one of those moms (and dads) who cringe when we hear someone say, “God chose you because you are special/strong/blessed, etc.” I want to scream when I hear that. I’ll keep religion out of it. But really, no. I just happen to be someone who loves my children a lot and would never hurt them. I’m pretty average, but I go above and beyond when necessary to do for my kids what needs to be done. It’s about that simple.
At our house, in our little world, autism isn’t puzzles pieces and primary colors, nor is it Autism Walks or t-shirts. I have a car magnet — that’s about as loud as we get. We have formed a pretty tight community with friends and school employees, and I think we all do a wonderful job of advocating for Emma and teaching her how to advocate for herself.
Autism is laughter. Tears. Screaming. Jumping for joy. Dancing. Singing. Kicking all the stuffed animals off the bed. Lying on the floor, refusing to move. Learning to tell jokes. Deciding that she can wash her hair all by herself. Three days in a row of being kissed, for the first time in years. Telling her I love her and getting no response. Taking deep breaths. Listening to her tell me the same things she told me yesterday and the day before and the day before that. Teaching her how to apply eye shadow the right way. Watching movies together (and her asking me questions throughout the whole movie). Autism is praising her little brother for being patient with her, when he would rather yell at her.
Autism is a lot of explaining. Repetition. Understanding. Compassion. Empathy. Love.
A version of this post originally appeared on Do It Yourself Kinda Girl.
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