The 3 Important Things to Know About My Special Needs Family

I was hit a few times with pure ignorance yesterday. Starting at the bank, the woman on the phone said, “Oh it’s OK if you bring your son. He will be fine here.”

Well, just as I suspected, it wasn’t OK, because my son, Keegan, wanted to climb down the stairs headfirst into a line of five people. He wasn’t worried about the people in his way. The woman I spoke to was nice, but when I mentioned the big A-word, all she kept saying was how sorry she was. I know ignorance doesn’t know, but I wanted to yell. Then I look at those people standing on line, now staring at my son and I. Again, did they not get the memo?

A study released in November 2015 suggests one in every 45 kids is diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder. Forty-five! But let’s start counting the numbers related to ignorance in our society. I would love to hear those numbers on the radio in the morning.

Here’s another thing I hear a lot of, being a single mom of two kids, one of whom has autism: “Wow how do you do it by yourself? That’s terrible. I’m sorry.”

That’s terrible? What’s terrible? That my son has autism or that I’m alone? Let’s set the record straight: My son is the coolest kid walking and nonverbally communicating, and being a single mom is tough for anyone, not just an autism mom. So I force myself to believe that people just really have no idea. A single mom with two kids, typical or not, has a tough and rewarding job. But I’m no superhero. I can go from sleeping to not sleeping in a single screech, but that could be my only superpower. My kids are superheroes, and neither of them need fixing.

My 2-year-old son has moderate autism and has always had it. I love him unconditionally, screechy or not, talking or not, stimming or not. My 6-year-old daughter has the patience of a saint and isn’t quite sure how to handle her brother, but when he interacts and hugs her, you would think she just won a prize, and she kinda did.

There is ignorance everywhere, sadly. I believe it is the most annoying disease out there. Some have it because they don’t know, while some choose to live in it. So I choose to be ignorant about ignorant people. Like they aren’t standing and staring at all. Like they do not exist.

This is what’s important for people to know about me and my family:

1. Not all kids who are loud are unhappy.

2. Not all kids who are silent are unhappy.

3. Just because someone’s child is loud or silent does not mean Mom or Dad is unhappy.

This is my happy son, KeegerButt.

This is my happy daughter, Addy Pants.

And this is a happy autism mom.

Follow this journey on Stimmy Mama.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability and/or disease, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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