|Let me introduce you to this world of autism…|
Feel free to keep scrolling if you like, but I invite you to stay.
You see, I might be writing about someone you know, like
or a neighbor down the street.
This world we live in is not a glamorous one.
This world we live in is filled with sleepless nights, aggression, self-injury behaviors, broken furniture, favorite toys torn apart, and the screaming and tears of an emotional child trying to communicate.
The media likes to glamorize autism by portraying them as a mathematical genius, a musical savant, or a medical doctor.
This is not our autism.
My son Collin was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2.
Back then, he wasn’t much different from other children his age.
We could blend in at birthday parties, and family/friend gatherings… no one really knew unless I told them.
And he was cute, just like all kids his age.
He liked to play outside and pick up sticks and leaves. He would examine every inch and then toss it away.
Swinging was his favorite. He liked to catch the breeze in his face it would make him laugh.
Inevitably, therapies took the place of days outside playing on swings.
Carefree moments are now lost in piles of paperwork, meetings, doctor appointments, and many hours of driving back and forth to countless therapies.
By the time we come up for air, everyone we have known has drastically changed and moved on.
My brown-eyed boy with long eyelashes is growing up in front of me. The meltdowns that I could control on my own are no longer as easy.
Meltdowns are bigger… louder.
And burnout is real.
The lists are always long for a special needs child and still only 24 hours in a day and these lists will continue as we usher our kids into adulthood and beyond.
The list never really ends
At night, although completely exhausted, your mind can’t rest.
You think about the day and the handling of a meltdown in a public place and keeping it together until you get to the car and cry.
It’s keeping up with medications.
It’s you and another adult trying to hold down your child to do his blood work because the medication is just not right for him.
It’s the constant why.. why is he doing this? Because your child can’t communicate if something is hurting.
It’s who is going to take care of my child when I’m gone?
I’m not telling you this out of self-pity, it’s sharing the reality of special needs parenting. We love our children so much and want nothing but the best for them. We love them so much that we put their needs before our needs.
You will see us hugging and kissing their cheeks because we want them to never doubt the love we have for them.
We are their biggest cheerleaders, always beaming with pride over them!
They are the ones that keep us moving forward!