What do I wish people knew about our lives with Autism?
There are a lot of things and I could write a novel on it.
But, to name a few...
It is hard.
It is okay to say it is hard. Somedays are even harder than others. I don't talk about those days a lot because I just don't. Just because you don't see the hard doesn't mean the hard isn't there.
There are times people can say things that I reasonably know are well meaning, but they can chafe regardless. Read the room and know your audience. Please.
I have said this before and I will continue to say it-- if you have met one person with Autism then you have met exactly one person with Autism.
My boys are and their challenges are extremely different. They need to be treated as individuals. There is not a one size fits all approach.
My boys want nothing more than to be included and accepted just like anyone else. I long for a day when we live in a world that differences are embraced and acceptance and inclusion come naturally to us all.
Being a parent of a special needs child can be very isolating.
It is hard to feel connected to others who don't understand our struggles. I have two neurotypical children and I can understand the hard days my friends with neurotypical children have. Not everyone can understand our hard days.
There are days it feels like people expect me to paint on a smile and act like it is all sunshine and rainbows and no one wants to hear about the hard. So, I pack it away and then there are days where it gets so damn hard to carry the load.
I will gladly take the hardest of the hard days if that means I can make life a little more simple and carefree for my boys.
My boys are who they are.
They are who they are today and who they will be tomorrow. They won't "grow out" of Autism. They are wonderfully and beautifully made. They will change the world-- they've already changed mine.
I am not a subject matter expert on Autism. I don't claim to be. I am, however, a subject matter expert on my boys.
If you see me out with one of my boys and you observe a meltdown know that it isn't because they are bad kids or I am a crap parent. They are having a hard time. They have reached their limit. In those moments extend more grace and less judgment. We're just trying to do the best we can.
We're ALL just trying to do the best we can.