To the Wonder Souls who are in the trenches right now, fighting as well as working with autism every single day, please listen to what I am about to say.
You see the thing is….in those early days, I was scared too. I thought autism was a childhood crasher, game over, dream ender. I thought if I worried more I was working harder. Crazy stuff you say but I bet you know what I’m talking about ;).
I am here to tell you it is NOT a game ender, it’s just a different processing system. That’s the crazy, crazy part I can see now as I look back….autism just means it’s going to be tougher, the challenges are going to stand a little firmer, and your are going to live in a gray area for a pretty good while…BUT….autism is full of some wildly good stuff and autism does NOT mean it’s over. Autism just means you have to throw out the old rule book and write a new one. Or, better yet, let’s go without rules and wing it.
Yes, your child is going to be quirky, your child’s progress will come more slowly and your are not always going to have the answers. Nonetheless…trudge forward, stand your ground and I guarantee you that when you look back you will understand what I am saying….you’ll see how different may be harder sometimes but it’s still GREAT. It’s great because the lessons you learn from autism aren’t taught in any book. They are bigger than rule books. I have fought, I have thrown down, and I have pushed back hard…and he and I are both better for it all. And, just in case you wonder, let me say crying is okay too. Cry for goodness sake…it’s a release from all the hard work and emotion you fill your day with. You have to let it out sometimes. I have cried my eyes out in moments but it didn’t mean I was losing…just meant I needed a moment to gather myself.
And, for the record, my boy is not perfect. We did not overcome every obstacle, he is still on the spectrum and he still faces setbacks and struggles but we’re OKAY. He is the very best HIM and I like who he is. He teaches me mountains of stuff that I never would have known. I would not change him. He’s okay, I’m okay…we are okay together.
If I could change one thing….I wish I had understood all of this sooner, like when he was three….so that I could have put the fret ball of worry aside and just enjoy him completely. Worrying robs you of your smile and your joy and doesn’t do your kiddo one bit of good.