Autism is personal.
Don’t for a minute think it is not. It’s not like cancer. Cancer impersonally invades the body and can be hated and managed with well known drugs and a defined path of treatment that has often great odds at a cure. Autism is not that way. Autism can barely be defined much less managed and treated with any kind of defined path. And, honestly, it can’t be hated because to hate autism is to hate the child it is an integral part of. That is not going to happen. Doctors will throw darts at the symptoms and some will offer therapies that are likely not covered by insurance but a path to cure will not be part of any autism I have known. It it not impersonal at all.
The word autism is vague and yet it’s still confining.
I am happy they at least added the spectrum. The spectrum makes it broader, less confining What happens on your spectrum, because everyone’s navigation is different, is up to you. Whether you crawl and moan upon your spectrum or you stand up tall and dance out loud, it’s a personal choice. It really is all up to you. The spectrum is personal. Never doubt that.
Autism is a gray area that, even upon diagnosis, has yet to be defined. As I tend to often repeat to moms of younger ASD kids, it is fluid, ever changing and mysterious. It will surprise you if you let it, it will rock your world and knock your socks off in moments. It will also test you, beat you up and you will rise up to the challenge it poses even in the moments when it is beating you down. Good parents always do, whether it is planned and conscious or not. Great parents will go forward with new therapies they believe will help and will say no to the quackery. It is a defining moment as a parent to be invited to step up to autism.
Parents of children with special needs are fluid and changing too. That is the beauty of autism. It affects everyone and parents as well can change over time. Over time they become warriors. After they finish their moments of grieving or adjusting to what autism is, they stop whining, stop complaining and giving into their wishbone. They start growing that backbone and they stand upright and fight for their child. If it hasn’t happened to you yet…just wait because it will. Unless, of course, you are blessed with one of those school districts who are forward thinking and understand autism. The districts where they do not make you fight. Where children are given what they need and expectations are set high just because it is the right thing to do. Bless you if you have that school district and bless them for making your spectrum dance one jive, hoppin, rockin’ place to be.
Loving autism never seemed like a path I would take. Avoiding, anger, denial and hopelessness might have been a more apt prediction of my feelings in the early days. Marveling, laughing and being thankful for a son on the spectrum did not seem likely when he was diagnosed at 2. I might have thought you were out of your mind for even suggesting anything remotely possible. Autism is an affliction, a handicap, a way to lose a child might have been what I thought way back then. Autism, once upon a time, was a death sentence.
Thankfully times change and thankfully we are able to change with them.
There are days when the light shines bright and God’s sense of humor soaks into me. When I see more than just the “A” word. When my son’s voice shares with me what his spectrum goggles see and I too, in that moment, can see the brilliance that radiates from him. I love those moments; would trade nothing in this world for them. I would trade nothing for that cure you search for. I would not change him. His iridescence would be lost in your cure.
I would not cure his autism.
I like to leave every hair in place, just like it is. I would leave each cell in his brain intact, functioning just as he was wired on the day he was born. The only thing I want to do is enhance his dance, build to his strengths and let him grow more and more into who he is supposed to be. NOT into who the guidebook says he is supposed to be; like every other child. I cringe to think of what my life would have been like had I not been blessed with his radiance, his vivacious and unpredictable nature. I honestly cannot imagine what my life would look like if he had not danced into my life with his iridescent glow. I am thankful, beyond these simple words, for the iridescent boy he is and the blessing he has brought to my life.
He is perfect.
He is beautiful.
He is spontaneous.
He is not like anyone I have ever met.
He is challenging.
His imperfection is perfect.
He is the reason I am who I am.
He is everything I never knew I wanted and,yes, he is my personal best.
He is iridescent.