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5 Things “Autism Moms” Aut to Know

Where is the Acceptance HWY?

Where is the Acceptance HWY?

Before we get to this list I would like to say I never got the memo telling me to dub myself an “Autism Mom.” It never occurred to me that I was one. When I came on-line 5 yrs. ago I realized it was a thing people do or a thing people do to you. A weird thing to boot. As if Autism was a soccer league and we were now all on this new team with the ridiculous team name of ”The Autism Moms.” I am the mother of an Autistic child (now a teen.) I am not a grizzly bear or a warrior mama bear. Just a woman that gave birth twice… with one of my son’s being an Autistic person. I don’t want extra attention, sympathy, kudos or pity. I don’t need to call myself or have anyone else call me an Autism Grizzly Mama, Warrior Mom or any other variation on those themes. It doesn’t take a grizzly bear or a warrior to raise an Autistic person no matter what “Autism Moms” prefer you would believe. It takes a natural ability to see through a disability. Our children don’t need to see us being coddled and applauded for raising them. What internal message does that input to them?

 

I don’t want or need “extra credit” for raising the child I gave birth to and you shouldn’t either. It says something about a person that needs to elevate themselves for caring for another person in need. Especially, a higher needs individual. Isn’t that what stripped down humanity is all about? Caring for others and others caring for you? At the end of the day, week, year and millennium that is really all we have internally. Our love of self and others and the care we deposit there. If we focused on this more we would feel at ease and realize we did not need extraordinary validations to do the things we were born to do. Our lives are learning challenges we should all love and accept willingly without special accolades.

 

Raising an Autistic child is not an early intervention race or competition. It’s a wonderful chance to connect to a new school of thought. An emerging neurodivergence; something much bigger than all of us. It is the chance to respect differently and to be respected differently. To learn about the layers of thought alive in yourself and others. It challenges you to see things from other perspectives revealing facets you may have never considered before. It is uplifting and challenging all at once. Exactly what life is meant to be.  So be the strong person you are and do not play “the Autism card” for sympathy, laughs or extra credit. Autism is an integral part of your loved one. It is not something to casually curse or use at your own discretion for savior status, sympathy and/or attention. It is most certainly not your title before Mom.

 

1.) Autism is not a thing separate from the person.

Your child is Autistic. This means that Autism is a genetic core factor of their being. It is like a filter through which sensory and cognitive information is delivered to them in every minute of every day. They feel and see things from an Autistic point of view, that is the nature of who they are. This POV is not anything that will be separated from them. Ever. Your child isn’t ‘with’ Autism, Autism is with them. Understanding these facts as truths is one of the most important things you can ever do for your Autistic loved one.

 

2.) Autistic people hear the disparaging remarks you make and internalize them.

People can be so objective when speaking about Autism. As if it is a “thing” see #1. Words have many meanings. Words are also interpreted differently by literal thinkers and the other types of thinkers on this spectrum of thought. Be cognitive that Autism is a large part of an Autistic person’s Autonomy. It belongs to them. They own it. To hear the many disparaging things people will say out loud about Autism, stings. Painfully. Imagine those things turned inwardly day after day, year after year, decade after decade? The things you hear and read in the media. The things you hear and see in your day to day life and NOW so prominently in social media. The messaging against Autistic people is pervasive. From the overt assaults to the naïve questioning implications. It is easy to see why Autistic people have self esteem issues that reside in anger. Truly think about this. If you would not like the things you say about Autism to be said about yourself, I suggest you rethink what you ARE saying before you say it.

 

3.) If you believe Autism is a curse, it will be.

Sadly, people have been pre-programmed to perceive disability as a ‘curse’ as wrong and bad for society. A natural part of our world, an integral piece of humanity has been treated with such disdain and disrespect. The horrific history of the assaults against disabled people are unfathomable in this day and age. YET, everyday we still see people say and do things that prove how deeply this hatred has been ingrained into the ‘civilized’ psyche. The energy you feel when you internally believe such hateful things will exude from you. IF you are harboring disdain and hatred towards Autism and/or disability, people perceive that from you. Especially, Autistic people. Especially, your child. If your child believes you believe they are a curse to you…what’s to stop them from responding to you in kind? People do learn what is “expected” from them even when they cannot fully give it.  If you expect something from your child a certain way, that child will seek to fulfil your prophecy.  We need to be wise enough to transcend from where our forefathers and mothers went wrong. Create a new prophecy full of understanding, respect and equality.

 

4.) Autistic people remind us all to be honest.

Honesty is the best policy. Something instilled into me from my childhood. I have adhered to this factoid despite the social messaging that tells you honesty is sometimes harnessed and edited. People are considered blunt or rude when being honest. People sometimes accuse honest and plain speaking individuals as aggressive bullies. How dare you not sugar coat my “honesty”? When as a society, did we decide it was better to skip real honesty listening only to what we like? Using honesty as a sword and only when it suits our needs? There’s tact, there’s grace, there’s charm but there is also; B.S. If honesty comes with salt and vinegar we don’t want it? We won’t accept it? How dare we -dictate the flavor of honesty. Autistic people rarely play distasteful games with honesty. Their truths are their truths. Valid truths we need. Society can learn many lessons here. Be honest with yourselves and your families. Be real, don’t demand a sugar coated truth from others. Aren’t we grown up enough for the plain truth?

 

5.) Parental attitudes have the ability to transform an Autistic person’s life.

This is THE key. Inner~standing the life of your Autistic child puts you on the road to success. Connect to and read the writings of Autistic adults that were once Autistic children. Talk to your child (no matter the current state of their verbal capabilities) and validate their differentials so different from your own. Discuss how you each experience the world uniquely and define your own family respectfully. Respect those differentials exquisitely because, they are indeed exquisite. If you follow where this mind/body -central nervous system information leads you, things will evolve more comfortably. Communication flows much smoother when there are core understandings between parties. Adopt the attitude that respects the integrity of Autism being a core distinction of the human experience for people on the spectrum, no if’s ands or buts.

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