Yesterday Richard wrote a wonderful post on his blog entitled ~ Happy Father’s Day. In it he talks about being a father and how having children has changed him and his life. He ends the post with, “To all our children, thanks for making our lives matter!” I love that. That’s it, right there. That’s the feeling I’ve had, but couldn’t find the words to so beautifully or succinctly express.
Richard also wrote, “…We got a beautiful boy, Nic. Eighteen months later, we got a beautiful girl, Emma. One of each, as they say. We got “one of each” in another way, too. One autistic, one not.” I read that and smiled, because it’s so true. We have been fortunate enough to have a child of each sex AND of two different neurologies! Three years ago I would not have been able to write any of this, I was still in the – Autism is tragic – mindset. But happily all of that has changed. Some people object to those of us who have chosen to celebrate our child’s neurology. They say we are sugar-coating what is real and difficult and makes it seem less serious than it is. I disagree with that thinking. I think we can still acknowledge the massive challenges our Autistic children face in this world, while still celebrating who they are and the beauty of their specific way of thinking and being.
I do not, for a second, believe that my daughter has an easy time or that she will not face all kinds of things a non Autistic peer would not have to deal with, but I do not need to increase her challenges by not accepting her, believing in her and celebrating her, exactly as she is, now, in this moment. Adding my expectations, despair and ongoing critique and comparison of her, to the very real issues she must cope with on a daily basis does not make her life easier. And I really want to make her life easier, not harder. I’d like to be the person who champions her, makes the bumps she will inevitably face a bit less bumpy and help her navigate some of the twists and turns of life, by giving her acceptance and unconditional love for every aspect of her being.
I keep thinking about all our children who have trouble speaking, how when they are able to communicate in some way, either through typing or speaking, we non autistics are far more likely to listen and assume intelligence than not. I keep wondering what would happen if all our time, money and energy were spent on finding ways to help our children communicate through typing and other AAC devises, instead of on cures; would we see a shift in society’s perception regarding autism? Or would all those people dismiss their words because they are written and not spoken? Amy Sequenzia writes about this ‘here‘.
You see, we were one of those families who pursued the bio-med route. For years I tried all kinds of things, thinking we could cure. As long as I believed in a cure, everything else took a backseat. What I didn’t realize was that accepting and celebrating my child, fully and without amendment was the answer I had been looking for in all those doctors and specialists who claimed cure remedies. The remedy wasn’t a cure, the remedy was celebrating the child I have, exactly as she is – that’s the remedy.