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My Battle Cry from One “Autism Mom” to all Parents


Remember when you had all the answers relating to parenting? I do. It was before I had kids. I cringe at some of the ideals I had before kids. I profusely apologise to the people that were recipients of my often unsolicited opinions and advice from that time.

And then I held my newborn baby and spewed things that started with “My child will never…” or “I will never allow…” Excuse me, I had a little bullshit coming out of my mouth there. Let me just remove my foot from my mouth and choke down this crow I am about to eat.

We all have moments we are not proud of. How annoying are these people?

Life has a very special way of delivering karma with precision. I am not proud to say I was probably just about as judgemental as they come when it came to kids and their parents. I was that woman glaring at the mom with a toddler in Walmart having a tantrum.

And then my son was diagnosed with severe Autism.

Game changer.

Now I am the recipient of unsolicited advice from people who I believe have no idea of what I deal with on a daily basis. Now I receive those hurtful glares when my dysregulated, non-verbal son dramatically throws himself on the floor in Walmart and has an absolute meltdown over something that I can’t understand and he can’t tell me.

Our home is our “safe space” – our sanctuary. This is the place that we can live freely with Autism. This is where my son gets to just be. When preparing to go out into the world, a world that is complex and confusing to my son, I often get filled with anxiety. I worry about how he will behave. What judgment will I face as a mother for his behaviour?

I actually had a woman demand that my non-verbal son apologize for pushing her son away from him in a public place. I am still perplexed by this. Even after I told her my son was non-verbal, she still insisted I “do something”. I still don’t know what I should have done or could have done that would have been productive and would have satisfied this stranger. The reality, my reality, is that had I done what you would do in this situation with a typical child, my autistic son would not have understood the reprimand or the lesson, nor would he have apologized. All that would have happened is my son would have had a meltdown of epic proportion, leaving me embarrassed and sweating and him confused and upset. I don’t want to make excuses for him, but no one knows their child better than a mom, so believe me when I tell you the kid was too close to my son and pushing him away was his way of telling the child “no” and to back off. Should he be punished for that? He has a right to his personal space. Isn’t that what we are teaching kids these days? That “no means no”? Try to explain that to an irritated mother whose child has just been pushed down by your child. Try to explain that your child is not “typical”. Of course, all children are “special gifts from God”, especially to their mothers.

So what it ends up looking like is that I have a misbehaved toddler that I am complacent about, when in fact, instead of addressing bad behaviour, I am in a position to address the CAUSE of said behaviour. As my son gets older, it only becomes more off-putting to strangers because there will come a time when his behaviour can’t be excused as “terrible twos” or “threenager” behaviour. What does it look like when he is 12?

I have often thought “Would it be easier if I wore a badge that said ‘my son is autistic’ so that people would show a little patience and compassion?” And even if I did, there is no guarantee that people would understand what that even means. But let me tell you what it means to me: it means that my son doesn’t think like everyone else. That is a fact that is sometimes hard for me to even understand. He doesn’t comprehend what we call acceptable social attitudes and behaviours the same way. So for example, when someone invades your personal space, your reaction would likely be to say “Excuse me” or to back up to give yourself the space you are comfortable with. My son pushes you out of his space. He doesn’t process information the same way. He doesn’t talk. I don’t believe that he doesn’t know HOW to talk; I believe he just doesn’t know WHY he needs to talk. In his brain, things have a certain order and if you mess with that order, it causes upset and dysregulation. Each day that I feel like I am getting a little bit closer to understanding the complexity of my son, he springs something new on me. It is not lost on me that this is also true with all children.

Although they call Autism a “disability”, I have a hard time accepting that as truth for my son. While the world labels him as DISabled, know that I work hard every day to ENable him so that he will have an easier time at life once I am not around to help him.

So, here is my battle cry:

I wish the world wasn’t so harsh. I wish that people were just a little bit more compassionate, accepting, and not so “judgey”. We see “diversity” plastered all over the place as it relates to religion, race, sex…among other ideals that define diversity in its true sense. When can we start talking about neuro-diversity? When can we understand that not all people think the same and that doesn’t make them less, it just makes them unique and often they have a very specific niche in our society.

It has been a hard lesson for me over the past couple of years. I have grown as a person. I have become that supportive mother who sees you in Walmart with your tantrum-pitching child and I now pass no judgment. I do not know how your day is going. I do not know what you are dealing with. I do not know your story. I just know that you, like me, are hanging on by a thread, just trying to do your very best at a job that no one told you would be this difficult.

are comfortable with. My son pushes you out of his space. He doesn’t process information the same way. He doesn’t talk. I don’t believe that he doesn’t know HOW to talk; I believe he just doesn’t know WHY he needs to talk. In his brain, things have a certain order and if you mess with that order, it causes upset and dysregulation. Each day that I feel like I am getting a little bit closer to understanding the complexity of my son, he springs something new on me. It is not lost on me that this is also true with all children.

Although they call Autism a “disability”, I have a hard time accepting that as truth for my son. While the world labels him as DISabled, know that I work hard every day to Enable him so that he will have an easier time at life once I am not around to help him.

So, here is my battle cry:

I wish the world wasn’t so harsh. I wish that people were just a little bit more compassionate, accepting, and not so “judgey”. We see “diversity” plastered all over the place as it relates to religion, race, sex…among other ideals that define diversity in its true sense. When can we start talking about neuro-diversity? When can we understand that not all people think the same and that doesn’t make them less, it just makes them unique and often they have a very specific niche in our society.

It has been a hard lesson for me over the past couple of years. I have grown as a person. I have become that supportive mother who sees you in Walmart with your tantrum-pitching child and I now pass no judgment. I do not know how your day is going. I do not know what you are dealing with. I do not know your story. I just know that you, like me, are hanging on by a thread, just trying to do your very best at a job that no one told you would be this difficult.

Mom to mom, some days are just like that. Some days are hard. You got this, mama, even if you feel like you don’t got this at all.

busymindedmomma

Founder and creator

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