When you find out my children have Autism, please don’t say “I’m so sorry”. (That is unless you are holding back a secret cure that only you now about.)
Be sorry if your kid hits my kid, you kid calls my kids names, you step on my toe or your daughter breaks my sons heart.
Be sorry if my parent dies, my house sets on fire, you run my cat over with your car, I fall on the ice and break my leg or my car breaks down. You can even say I’m sorry if I go to the hair dresser and she gives me a really bad haircut (and by bad, I don’t mean good. I’m not that old) . While I think these are acceptable times to apologize, our advocate would say, “A woman should never say sorry to another woman unless they sleep with their husband”. That would be a pretty fair I’m sorry.
My kids are Autistic. AUTISTIC.
Autism seems to be a dirty word these days to most people, but maybe I can shed some light on it here. What I have learned thanks to my good friend and my children is that Autism comes with super powers. Among many, my son, “Steve” can recall the smallest detail you didn’t even know existed, like the name of the boat and the date and time the boat that almost rescued the Titanic, almost rescued the Titanic. “Steve” can remember the details (colors and styles), names, dates and specific movies Transformers were in, even ones that were created before he was born. He can take a .05 second look at a pumpkin I was just about to carve and tell me why my design will fall apart. Which clearly I consider a superpower because in my head it worked out perfectly fine.
My son “Emerson” who I recently found out can count much better than I thought can take a quick look around a room and access with uncanny accuracy how many people are a room in less than 5 second, while he is having a serious breakdown, because there are so many people in a room. “Emerson” can also recall moments with not just facts, but emotion. Randomly, like they were yesterday. He also knows the long complex names of more than a dozen dinosaurs, even with his speech problem, and the category to which they reside.
And I know, claiming these traits are super powers may not be acceptable to some. I understand it’s ok my children have a disability and it’s okay for you to understand my kids have a disability. I’m not trying to make them seem more normal. Besides, what is normal these days. If my kids had the option of being normal or not, I would pick not.
I’m just saying, “It’s okay”.
Sure it may come with
many some not so desirable traits, but like I said before, Autism doesn’t define my sons. They aren’t “Steve” and “Emerson” those young boys with Autism. They are “Steve” and “Emerson” those brothers, those super cute brothers, if I may say so myself but those brothers, with that super cute bubbly sister.
And they are my kids, and my kids are awesome. No reason to be sorry about a thing.
Here are some other things I think you should try not to say to the parent of a child with Autism:
“How did that happen?”. Who knows how it happened. Ask me what’s it like. What is he like. Even ask me how did I find out. A friend suggested today, it’s even good to ask if they can help in any way.
“I had no idea.” Of course you had no idea. I don’t usually tell people and I forgot to left his, “I have Autism” sweater home.
“Oh, he’s not Autistic, they like to label everyone these days” I don’t even know what to say about this one. If you lived with my children you would understand.
“Holy shit! Really?” Yes, really! Would I make this up?And Why would I make this up?Sure having children with Autism make some things more difficult that shouldn’t be, like going to the store, going to the beach, taking a long drive, and getting ready for school in the morning. Every day can be a struggle and you never know when something might set off one of those undesirable characteristics, but every child and every mom has their challenges. When it comes down to it we are all in the same rocky boat of parenthood, some boats just rock a little more than others.
Please don’t be sorry my kids have Autism.
(Some people don’t know what else to say, so they say they are sorry, as many people have said to me. But that leaves me confused because I don’t look at autism that way, so maybe my posts and my blog will help)