As we come to the end of Autism Awareness Month, I feel inclined to write this. I have read opinions from both sides of the fence on this topic that are in abundance lately (probably something to do with Autism Awareness Month, ya think?), so I feel the need to offer up my two cents. I know you can hardly contain yourself!
I, like many other autism parents, follow a lot of Facebook support pages and other social media pages for parents who have children on the spectrum, as well as various other bloggers. I have seen several posts where people are asking others to look at autism itself as a positive thing, or posing the question, would you change or take away your child’s autism if you could? I have also seen comments on support groups shaming parents for feeling negative or venting. I cannot for the life of me wrap my mind around this! And I don’t completely disagree with everything I’ve read about being more positive. But autism is a spectrum. There’s no comparing apples to apples! (Really this is true of all children, but anyway) We cannot compare one of our ASD children to the other. We cannot compare any of our situations to another. We cannot judge what we don’t know. We can only support each other, try and help each other problem solve and share our successes from small to big. And by golly we can vent! But shame and ridicule? I see no use in that.
My opinion with which you can agree or agree to disagree, is that autism in itself is absolutely NOT positive. I 100% try to find the bright side of parts of our daughter’s disability, but that is what autism is, her disability! I would be first in line to take it away from her! She is nonverbal, severe, trapped in her thoughts, has extreme battles to overcome in every aspect of her life. Autism does not make my beautiful daughter who she is! It causes her struggle! She lives in the grey area…a world of the of unknown. Her future is too hard to think about without many major medical miracles, so we have to live in her now. Bottom line –autism makes her life more difficult! And I will fight until the day I die to erase autism from her life! I will hold hope for a cure for this complex neurological disorder that has taken her independence away from her. I will try to help others understand autism and raise awareness. But I will absolutely not tell anyone that autism is a blessing in any way! My daughter is the blessing! And even if she wasn’t as severe as she is, I would never want my child to continue to have any diagnosis that made her life a little more difficult. Even if it was just a little!
We absolutely do try to stay positive. Positive that she will sleep all night. Positive that a new medication in our ongoing medication and supplement roulette is going to help her. Positive that a new intervention will help lift some of the autism fog, and that she will just be able to have a happy and pain free day! But autism is not sunshine and rainbows. I refuse to minimize it. Even those who have “high functioning” kiddos, should not have their child’s struggle minimized or dismissed. You have not walked a day in their shoes. So again, we can just agree to disagree if you feel differently!
I know one thing we can all agree on, though. We can continue to raise awareness, call attention to the special needs of our children and bring together hope that one day this topic will be a moot point because we will have a cure for autism!
Lots of love!