I had a well meaning teacher once ask if perhaps I wasn’t fully accepting of my boy’s autism. She wondered if I might still be locked in a small level of denial. She thought I might be setting my expectations too high. Wanting more of him than he was capable of since he was…well…of course…disabled. She meant well and I do not fault her for asking. I adore open and honest conversations.
I told her that I fully get that my boy is on the spectrum. I am not denying that. In fact, with his quirkies running wide open, there is NO denying that. But I also told her that I will not stop expecting him to be his very best and I will not stop pushing him further until I see that he has hit his high point. I can see the spectrum. I get it and he’s on it. But what I won’t do is see ONLY the spectrum. What I won’t do is lessen my belief in him because what I see, when I look at my boy, is so much MORE than a disability.
HE is more than autistic.
He is more than those giant six letters.
He is more than the quirks and the funky habits.
He is more than the developmental challenges he struggles with.
He is more than the dismal evals and reports that try to define him on paper.
He is more than simply the confinement of that one word and I will not let any single word define him.
I can see the spectrum in him but I also see an inventor, a teacher, a scientist, and an explorer. What I see, when I look at my boy, is utter brilliance and I see a boy who is smarter than his NT mom ever was. I see a boy whose entire life is still a blank canvas that lies before him and I will not let it stand blank or let it be filled with a single or lesser color. This boy, who so amply shares his view of the world in words and phrases that stun me, will be encouraged to fill his blank canvas with a myriad of brilliant colors and experiences that will transform him into the masterpiece he was destined to be. I will not expect less of him because six confining letters happen to be written on a doctor’s piece of paper.
Autism is simply one piece of him. Autism is a single color on a vast canvas.
He is so much more than that one word or one color and I will not, for even one moment, lower my expectations or let it confine or define who he is intended to be. HE will decide that and I will help him the best I can by not limiting his options and colors and by swinging the doors of his world wide open to uncover every color under the sun because, who he is, is so much bigger than one six letter word. Autism is a piece of him but I will tell you straight up, right here and now, that I will dig in my heels and push open those doors if I have to because I refuse to let it be all of him.