Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
Every day throughout April–Autism Awareness Month–we will be featuring a different reader-submitted story about living with autism. Today’s story was written by Josie Texidor, mother of Collin, 10, and Drew, 3, and author of the blog Lucyshouse Blog.
I am a mother. I have three kids, two on the autism spectrum who also struggle with sensory processing. This fact permeates pretty much all factors of our lives. It determines which events we choose to go to, when and where we vacation, and which foods we eat.
It has created constant stress around school. The phone ringing during school hours brings a jump to my stomach and an automatic, “uh oh” from my lips. What happened now?
Instead of sports or music activities, we’re more concerned with getting speech, occupational, or social therapy set up–and making sure insurance will cover it. Birthday parties, while exciting, are also scary. How will my child react to all the change and noise?
Autism brings us shaking heads and wagging fingers from elderly people in stores. It brings looks of disapproval from mothers with pretty little girls looking quietly at their dolls. Autism brings uninformed teachers labeling your child with a scarlet “D” for delinquent before they even get out of kindergarten.
Every parent has this to a certain degree. I know that. But what people without autism in their lives don’t understand is that the judgment is so constant. You know that every-once-in-a-while interaction you have because of a bad day? It is a common occurrence in our house. And not because our kids are bad kids–in fact, they’re amazing, thoughtful, creative and loveable. Just like your kids. They just have autism.
The issues autistic kids struggle with shows itself behaviorally. Some parents may think the way they parent would create a different outcome. But trust those of us in this growing autism community when we say that it would never happen. You can’t parent autism away. We’re all trying hard, day and night. We love our kids fiercely and fight for them daily. The very fact that we work so hard makes those “lazy parenting” looks sting even more. (more…)