Let me start this by stating something very clearly, because I cannot judge anyone else’s life:
If you or your child are in need of outside help from professionals, then more power to you for seeking it. This rant is not about those who seek help, it is for those who judge me for not feeling the need to do so.
My son, a 7-year-old bundle of awesome, has not been in any kind of therapy for the last year and a half. He’s autistic, as am I. I’m currently seeing someone for anxiety, but he doesn’t seem to have a need for outside help. He’s got this shit, like a boss. What do the kids call it again? Swag? He has that swagger thing.
You’d think that’d be good, and an indicator of how settled he is in himself, how relaxed he is with the fact he’s different to most of his schoolmates and peers.
But more often than not, people look at me sideways, the negligent mother, and how could I so flagrantly admit to his not going to 100 appointments a week to make him more social and normal?
Well fuck that. Actually, just fuck that for us, in our home and the life we’re in. Other people’s needs are none of my business. Much like the needs of my family are no-one else’s business, unless we’re clearly losing it. (Hint: we’re not).
He’s quite sociable with his friends. And with his family. Oh, and his teacher and his aide too. He loves the deputy principal of his school, and always has a smile for people he recognises, even if their names get lost in the list because he’s swapped classes and their relevance has waned. There’s a really good reason for that (and again, I know this is only what works in my house).
My boy is given room to be himself. I don’t expect him to be happy all the time, nor do I expect him to do the things that ‘normal’ kids do. He’s not normal, he’s amazing, and he swims through the waters of his life with a solid grounding in who he is, and what he wants, their comforting foundation just waiting on the shore when he chooses to get out of the water and join us.
Sometimes those things are at odds with the greater good for the family unit, and yeah, we have our disagreements. He’s a person though, so I do my best to address his concerns.
Children have concerns sometimes, and so, as they’re also people, we talk about that stuff. Just like a psych would, or another professional. I don’t feel ill-equipped to handle it, although I understand that isn’t always the case for other families. Again, no probs if you need some help. It’s not you, it’s the judgers, the ones who think he needs some kind of intensive help to be someone else, someone who he isn’t. That, well that gets me mad.
Sure, it’s not all bunnies and rainbows, and often we’ll have a bad day. But a meltdown isn’t going to be avoided by a social group or an OT appointment, at least in my house. They can’t be avoided.
Sometimes you just get over it. As in ‘I’m so over this, ugh’. He does. So do I. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t.
We get over it. Then we get around it. Then we get over it again probably. But we always get around it eventually.
That seems to elicit all the delightful ‘oh he doesn’t seem autistic’ comments, and the rest of the ill-informed crap that people dredge up from the latest vague awareness campaign. Light it up blue? No thanks, I’ll light it up accepting, and ignore all this awareness hoo-ha, because it’s not even close to understanding, and that’s where the issue lies.
People think they understand autism due to their ‘awareness’, and that’s where my reality collides with their ideas. ‘Isn’t he busy being rain man somewhere? Why not? What’s his ‘super power’. Ugh. His super power/savant ability is being himself, without fear of denial of his basic human rights.
Sometimes he says ‘I wish I wasn’t like this’. Then he goes back to being ‘like this’, not able to be another way at all, and reassured by his family that we wouldn’t want him any other way. He just IS. And that’s how we want him, and that’s why we love him.
My happy boy is playing with his Dad and enjoying the afternoon sun as I write this. Surprise!
Tell me again what I should be doing to make my boy normal?