I have a friend with a young daughter on the spectrum. She regularly posts on FaceBook about her struggles with her daughter, and how she loves her daughter but hates autism. She complains that they often have to leave school events early, and just once she wished she could stay through a whole event and watch all of her children.
I admit that I only have one, and he is relatively high functioning.
I also remember feeling that way.
And I was a single mom.
(I know not everyone will agree with me, as this is a major point of contention within the autism community, and the line drawn seems to coincide with functioning levels. Autism is a struggle for most, and parents will spend our whole lives trying to figure our kiddos out. This opinion is based on my own experiences.)
At some point, though, there was a shift for me. The more “battles” you have to choose whether or not it’s worth it to fight, you begin to see hypocrisy all around you. You begin to question the structure and rules in our society, and how arbitrary they seem. Why do you have to keep your shoes on during a play? Is it really that big a deal if someone wears the same shirt everyday, as long as it’s clean (I’m looking at you, Troy Landry)? Do I really have to worry so much about the guy with the white beard being approached by my child who thinks he’s Santa?
You begin to think about the fundamental difference between children and adults, and how boring we all get. How we lose that sense of creativity and wonder. And how freeing it can be to not have to worry about all of that stuff.
My friend made a comment in her last post about the fact that her daughter needs to adjust to the world, and not the other way around. I respectfully disagree. Yes, we have to teach them to adapt to the best of our (and their) abilities. But. There are enough of us to really make a positive change here, and we have to stop being so hard on our kiddos. We have to start being harder on this cold, dead world that has a vice grip on its arbitrary social structures and rules.
My friend says she’s tired of it (autism), and that she’s exhausted. The fact is, my friend’s daughter will never lose her autism, but the rest of us neurotypicals only need a shift in perspective to allow her to be who she is.
And we need to accept our own kiddos as they are if we ever hope the world to accept them, too.