Saturday, August 16, 2014

No, I would not change my kid's with autism for the world!

Recently, I came across a blog that I could not stop thinking about. I didn't know exactly how I felt about it. It kind of bothered me. The blog headline was directed at parents who state they would not change their children with autism for the world. To this, the blogger said, "Bulls--t!!" Maybe it is because I myself have said, countless times, the very statement this blogger felt was a load of B.S, "I would not change my kiddo's for the world". I am sure you could even find this statement in one of my blogs, yet autism has made me cry, feel despair, frustration and hopelessness, empty and broken. Autism itself has hit me, pulled me, given me bruises, pushed me, made me bleed, pinched me, pulled my hair out and kicked me. In our household, it comes in a variety of flavors, from good to bad, and vice versa, every day. You don't know what the day will be like Sometimes it rapidly changes in a matter of minutes. It is unpredictable. So why does this statement bother me? Is it really B.S. that I say I wouldn't change my kiddo's for the world?



No.

Perhaps, their is more than one reason this statement bothers me.

First of all, I cannot "undo" autism. No matter what I do, their will always be autism. Their is no cure. No magic medicine. I do not have a choice in this matter and am not going to "cry over spilled milk". Autism is a part of our daily lives whether I would want it gone or not. Whether I would change my kids for the world or not is really pointless, isn't it?
Secondly, I feel I have to take "the good  with the bad" approach. I don't know my kiddo's without autism. It is a part of who they are. I am an autism mom that has been given a double shot of autism. It's what I do and all I know. Autism is a gift and a challenge. It is a curse and a blessing all wrapped into one. It is a uniqueness that contributes to the individuals that my sons are, and will always be. I would never take that away or change that for the world. I don't think my husband would have been too happy if, during our vows, I would have just said for better, but not for worse; in health but not sickness. I loved my son's when they were born. I loved them the day each one got their diagnosis. I love them just the same now, autism and all.
Lastly, I can understand and respect that some parents would do anything to change their children's autism. The part of autism they feel that rob's them of their children, the part that causes self-injurious behaviors, head-banging, seizures and the like. I will not say it is B.S. if they don't feel the way I feel, because aren't we all entitled to feel how we choose to feel? Does this mean that I am full of B.S. if I do not feel the same way?

No.

I don't know what it's like to be a "typical" parent. Would I feel so strongly about this if I did? Would the smallest of milestones or slightest progress mean as much as they mean to me now? I don't know. My job as a parent is to help my children cope in this unpredictable world that creates their anxieties, tantrums, meltdowns and break downs in communication. Not to change them. The countless hours of ABA therapy did not take away their autism. All the speech, OT, neuro-developmental pediatricians and therapists have been unsuccessful in removing their autism. All the social skills classes have not automatically made them have more friends. Does all the therapy mean that I am trying to change them?

No.

That's because it has never been about changing them for the world. It is about supporting them, being there for them, teaching them by giving them the tools they need to reach their own potential, wherever that may be, with their autism. Wouldn't any typical parent do this for their children as well? If their children struggle to read, wouldn't they help them? If their children don't have many friends, wouldn't they encourage them?If my children were bullied, I would not automatically attribute this to their autism. Bullying is everywhere, isn't it? It happens to all children. I wouldn't want to change my own children if they were bullied. I would want to change the "bullies".

Some think autism awareness is enough. Some believe we need autism acceptance. I say both. We cannot have autism acceptance until their is an awareness of the unique qualities individuals with autism have to offer society as a whole. I am proud to be a parent-member in the autism community, which offers a strong bond between the parents, caregivers and supporters of autism. We share our stories, our pain, our happiness and joy. We stand together with what makes our bond so strong - our kids, our brother, or our sister with autism. We have many things in common, but not everything. Our kids are still individuals with their own personalities. Certainly, we can share our own opinions and respect that we all can't feel the same about everything. Can't we?

Autism has made me laugh, feel proud, feel love, feel happiness, be more patient, be stronger, be more understanding. Autism has given me the ability to see things from a different perspective. It has made me appreciate the little things all that much more. To me, the good of autism, far outweighs the negative. The good builds me up and gives me confidence to cope with the sometimes harsh aspects of this disability. The good gives me hope that my kiddo's will be able to cope in this world, with their autism. But that's just my opinion. You don't have to feel the same way and I can appreciate and respect that.

No, I wouldn't change my boys for the world.....but I will change for them.