Recently I read an article by Keith Duffy telling those of us with an autistic child to stop mourning the child they aren’t and to start embracing the child they are. Is it really that easy? For many of us embracing autism is easier said than done. I certainly don’t sit there mourning the person my son could have been. Life is just too short to dwell on something that cannot be changed, but I just can’t embrace his autism.
I will always accept my children unconditionally and celebrate their achievements whether they have autism or not, isn’t that normal? Embracing my son’s autism is not so easy, though.
Not all families with an autistic child receive the support and care they need. Late diagnoses are still happening. Diagnosing autism, especially the milder variety like high functioning isn’t easy. Especially when there are medical professionals who aren’t as clued up as they should be on the disorder.
Our son was officially diagnosed at seventeen, despite one of his therapists suspecting he had autism at the age of eight. Unfortunately, she was not the person signing diagnosis papers, neither was she listened to by the people who were. Neither were we.
For those families who do get an early diagnosis, Keith Duffy included, I am truly happy. Really. It will make all the difference to the child’s future. For the families like us, who don’t get the early diagnosis and the support, things aren’t so easy. I don’t sit there and wallow, it’s not my style, but I do worry about the future of my son, which doesn’t look bright and rosy. The sad thing is he does have so much to offer, but it would take a very special and patient employer to give him the chance to shine.
Every Family Affected By Autism Is Different
That’s a fact!
Every person with autism is different and how people within a family copes is different. It’s not a one glove fits all situation. I do think there is a difference between accepting a diagnosis of autism and embracing it. Accepting it is a must. Embracing it isn’t.
I accept my son has autism and I accept that the disorder makes some things difficult for him, but I can’t embrace his autism. If I could change the fact that he is autistic, I would. He may lose some of the quirks that come with his autism, but I could live with that knowing he could live a life enjoying all the things he should. Like being comfortable in his own skin, holding down a job and being able to live an independent life and that’s just naming a few. Hell, I would cut off all my hair if it would mean he was no longer autistic, and I’m quite fond of my hair!
When you see your adult child battle with things as simple as removing an unlocked padlock from a gate or stand there totally puzzled by a simple question. In that moment you wish things could be different.
I Am Grateful to Keith Duffy
And all high profile people like him who are active autism awareness campaigners. They could make a huge difference in how the disorder is seen. People need to know that autism isn’t visible, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less debilitating than a physical disability. It is.
So to end this post I will say that I do accept my son’s autism, and as a family, we have to accept it for it to be our normal. As for embracing autism? I’m not sure that is something I will ever be able to do. I will also never mourn the person my son could have been, that would just be plain silly, how do we ever truly know the people our children are meant to be? Isn’t that just projecting our ideas of who we would like them to be and surely that would apply to all children, not just autistic ones?
Are you a parent of an autistic child? How do you feel about your child’s autism? Do you embrace it or just accept it? Would you change the fact that your child has autism? I really would love to know.
© 2017, Debbie. All rights reserved.