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My son was diagnosed in April of 2014 with Autism. We already knew but now he is official, it’s like he got the Good Housekeeping Seal of Autism Approval. Yay us.
Since coming out with our exciting diagnosis people have offered condolences (he’s not dying, but thanks), some have asked who diagnosed him (a random dude at the bus depot, he seemed legit enough), and others have pointed out that we needed a holistic approach to his issues (trust me I have tried, and short of having a Shaman at my house there is nothing left).
I do realize everyone is trying to help, because that is what people do when they don’t know what to do – they offer advice. I truly appreciate 99% of that advice, it takes a village after all. My family has been blessed with being surrounded by those that care and want the best for our son. That being said it is hard for those who do not have an Autistic child in their lives to understand. So here ya go…
1.) You cringe at the last 3 seconds of any sporting event that has a buzzer cause you are astutely aware of loud noises and their impact on your child.
2.) The demise of the Guest Assistance Card at Walt Disney World means you can’t visit without a major pain in the ass. Thanks for ruining the most magical place Disney, that was awesome.
3.) You watch other kids celebrate a team win at the local ice cream joint and realize your child probably won’t ever experience that, it might bring a tear to your eye (if you are human that is).
4.) You have same clothing pieces in multiple colors because finally you found something that is comfy and easy to get dressed in.
5.) You own books called: Parenting Children with ADHD, The Out of Sync Child, We’ve Got Issues, etc.
6.) You can spot another child with Autism a mile away, sometimes even before their own parents can spot them.
7.) You have accepted that the noises and movement that comes with your child is just the way it is, deal with it other people and please stop staring.
8.) You have named tics funny things – like ‘The Gary Coleman’.
9.) You see other kids playing together and wish your kid would participate.
10.) You are slowly accepting that your kid is ok not participating regardless of how much you want him too.
11.) Your kid loves his house, more than someone with Agoraphobia.
12.) You spend a lot of time talking to their teachers about things that most parents never dream of having a conversation about – could you please just STAY IN THE GOD DAMN CLASSROOM?! (BTW the answer is no because the sounds and lights are overwhelming and he gets hot, and sometimes he just needs to get up and walk around…sigh)
13.) You have all sorts of tools at your house – wiggle chairs, weighted blankets, T chewers, etc. You have since abandoned 99% of these but at one time you had hope that it would be the magic bullet (it wasn’t).
14.) Your child has a special connection with their pets that no one else in your house has.
15.) You child has a deep sensitivity to issues that surprise you every time they come up.
16.) Your kid may break down in tears of frustration over something simple, like writing a Thank You card – which is why you won’t get one from us, sorry I just don’t have the patience to suffer through this hell. Just know he appreciates your gift, really.
17.) You now have watched every documentary on Lincoln, The Civil War, Shipwrecks, etc.
18.) Shark week is a national holiday.
19.) You have vacationed at places like – Whitefish Point because the Edmund Fitzgerald sank there, duh.
20.) You have listened to the Gordon Lightfoot song about the Edmund Fitzgerald so many times that at the height of this obsession you were contemplating throwing all music playing devices out.
21.) Your child has a Jekyll and Hyde personality.
22.) Your other kids get invited to parties and events all the time, but your Autistic child doesn’t. It breaks your heart every time.
23.) You have searched high and low for everything and anything that may help your kid, devoting hours and major dollars. By now we could have circled the world.
24.) When you see your kids teacher walking your way you clench your jaw and brace yourself.
25.) You are beyond shocked and delighted when you hear a positive thing about school from your kid or their teacher.
26.) You can ask your kid a question and will most likely get the truth, life is black and white. There is no grey area.
27.) You constantly feel guilty because your Autistic kid takes more of your energy than your other kids do.
28.) Your Autistic kid has a deep love for you that warms your heart beyond your wildest dreams. They may not show it all the time but you have caught glimpses of it.
29.) You became scuba certified because your child loves the water, it is completely inconsequential that you don’t.
30.) You spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about the long term success of your child.
Autism is a part of our lives, and even though it brings with it many challenges it also brings many amazing things that we would have never have experienced if it weren’t for Autism. Life gives you all sorts of shit, you can choose to find a work around or just keep stepping in shit. We are always building bridges over the many piles of shit, if nothing else it keeps us on our toes.