I know people don’t really mean anything by it, using the autism parents tag, but it does really bother me. It reduces my husband and me & our five children to one label, and a label that most people see in a negative light at that.
I do not parent the loud, screaming meltdowns, the self-beatings or the head banging. I am not the mother of silence, of occasional grunts or of slurred words that I struggle to understand. It is not autism that I hug when he comes home from school crying because of the other 12th graders making noises at him as he passes in the corridor and it’s not six-year-old autism that I home school because he wasn’t thriving at school.
My boys who live with autism but are not defined by it. James is a Canucks fan, a Manchester City fan (but don’t hold that second one against him) and a huge fan of WWE. He is an annoying teenager who spends too much time on the X-Box and doesn’t do enough around the house. He complains when he has to walk to school, and he cheers up when he can lay on the sofa & watch the sports report instead of helping to clear away the dishes.
Gabriel loves the Octonauts, climbing anything that’s too tall for him to safely climb and finding new uses for ropes & string. He says very little but thinks big. He would eat mac N cheese every meal given a chance – but it can only be a particular kind of frozen mac N cheese in a green box. He loves the aquarium and walking in the woods and would stay out in all weathers and given half the chance he would never come inside.
Two of my sons are not autism, and I am not an autism parent any more than I am a neuro-typical for our other children.
So, call me a harassed parent, an exhausted parent, a grumpy parent or even call me a bad parent but please, don’t call me an autism parent – because Autism is no child of mine.
Love this post. My son has recently been diagnosed PDDNOS. His preschool(s) had been implying it for years. I felt like I was being sought after by some cult. To join the other “autism moms” and send him to therapy, to get an IEP, and begin “making his (their) life easier” right away, get support. I chose to homeschool him because I didn’t want his issues to be “our life.” I don’t want everything he does all day every day to be some remediation technique so that he can function in a classroom. He is who he is, and I don’t want a group of strangers who don’t even know each other, much less my son, making decisions about our lives and what is “best” for him. I don’t want to be shuffled around from therapy session to therapy session and be an “autism mom.” We live our life and go about our business, and he gets “life therapy” by living! It really is something that people love to use to describe others in a snarky way. Like they want to pretend that I have magic power that allows me to put up with my own kid, because I’m an “Autism mom.” As if to say “how do you do it?” I’ve seen NT kids, I taught in public school, they’re not perfect either. Why would I need a label to deal with my own child? Thanks for this. 😉
I wish I could reach out and give you a huge hug! We feel exactly the same – as soon as we started homeschooling our life became a breeze (as much as any family life is a breeze!) and our little man became so much more happy & content.I am so glad it’s working out that way for you too.
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