Sunday, June 28, 2015

Autism Parents Do NOT Hate You

Dear "NT" (neurotypical) Parents,

We don't hate you. We don't dislike you. We aren't jealous of you. I think some of us are envious, but never jealous.

Many times you seem to misinterpret our intent. When we say, "you're lucky to  worry about sports, or girl scouts, or sleep overs, college," and so on, we mean it. We know these are big worries.

 When we say we would love to worry about those things, often times, you get bent out of shape. Don't. We don't belittle your worries at all. What we mean is, we would rather those worries, then the sad ones we are faced with.

For a moment, put on some special needs parents glasses. See through our eyes.

We worry because our children often stand out and are bullied. (Not to say that yours aren't, but often times, it's special needs kids whom are targets.) We worry about our children being successful in a mainstream classroom. Getting invited to other children's parties. Being asked to play a school yard game.

We worry about IEP meetings. Therapies. Specialist appointments. College isn't even in some of our children's realm of possibilities.

We worry about what will happen when our children age out of the system. For many of us, we worry about who will care for our children (even as adults) when we pass away.

Some of our children have comorbid diagnoses. (Which means they don't just have Autism.) Many of them also struggle with mental disorders. So now we worry about hospitalizations. Maybe even institutions.

So you see, when we say "we wish we could worry about tee ball," we aren't demeaning your worries. We are saying we wish our worries were the same as yours. "Happy" worries as I refer to them.

Please, when you read our memes or our posts about these issues, try not getting so upset. Try putting on those special needs glasses I talked about.

Parenting is a rough gig. Whether your child is NT or not. We know that. 

Try understanding our worries for a moment.


an Autism Mom <3

Sunday, June 14, 2015

We've Been to Hell and Back, So Don't Say I Never Took You Anywhere

    Ten years ago today Pita and I said I do. It was a million degrees that day in Mobile Alabama, and I literally felt as though I was melting. We had no clue how turbulent our journey together would be. That day we never even considered it. We were happy and that was all that mattered.

    Long story short, I conceived during Hurricane Katrina. I was high risk and had to quit my job as a tattoo artist. Pita took a job in construction because there was so much damage from Katrina. Sadly though, people needed their homes fixed to live in, but were still waiting on their FEMA checks, so hubby rarely got paid. We were barely making it. By December we moved back to Pa.

   That was just the beginning. From then on, every time things seemed to look up, something else brought us down. So is the way of the world I guess. Our marriage has been tumultuous, to say the least. We have wanted to give up a few times. We didn't. We stuck it out, and here we are.

   Marriage is work. It's never sunshine and lollipops. Life has a way of slapping us when we're down. We're pretty used to that. Through major surgeries, chronic medical conditions, autism, bipolar disorder, and living on squat, we persevere. We choose to fight, so here we are.

    Today we're having a small "reception" complete with a wedding cake because we didn't have that when we got married. Pita came home from picking up the last minute items that I needed, and said, "Dammit! I forgot to get you a card! I even had something so nice to say. Well, I'll just tell ya!"

     "I was going to write: We've been to Hell and back so many times. I don't have a lot of money, but together we have a lot. And since we've been to Hell and back so many times, you can't say I never took you anywhere."

    That pretty much sums up our marriage. Without humor and added sarcasm, I think we'd never survive. When life kicks us, we laugh (well after a day or so of sulking.) If someone were to ask us what the key to our marriage has been, I would have to say, humor, laughter, resilience, forgiveness, and of course love.

    "We don't have a lot, but together we have it all."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Don't Use "Crazy" as an Adjective

    Our tv is tuned to the Disney channel, 24/7. I love how they keep with the times, but keep the programming wholesome. However, when my son quickly changed the channel the other evening, my heart sank.

    We were watching Dog with a Blog. The son Tyler called someone "crazy." I know, people say that all the time, but here I am, with an autistic son, whom also has bipolar disorder. He is currently in a severe depressive cycle, and very sensitive. To hear this term used as a joke really bothered him. I used this to get him to open up to me.

   "Why did you change it? I asked. "Because Tyler said crazy. I don't like that momma. Do people think that I'm crazy?"

    So now you see why it upset us. When I was growing up, kids called everything "gay." If something was stupid, or you didn't like it, it was "gay." As a teen, I saw no harm in this. The thought never crossed my mind how that could hurt someone. Until someone in my family, whom happens to be homosexual, expressed hurt in how I threw that term around so willy nilly. I never used it again.

    I reach out, and divulge details of our journey because we want to help change the world. We want parents and other children to know that they aren't alone in their struggles. We also want to educate our youth that some words should NOT be used an adjective. It may not hurt you to hear it, but I promise you, it's hurting someone.

    This goes beyond just "crazy" and "gay." Words like "retarded" "short bus" "insane" "cray cray," these words hurt! I could go on and on. But then I would lose my train of thought. Basically, if you're a tall, skinny person, you wouldn't want someone referring to you as "that tall, skinny kid." You would want to be referred to by your name, or something positive about you. Same goes for someone with a mental illness. They don't want to be called crazy, or cray cray. Nor do they want to hear you calling others that.

"Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Bull! Words hurt, sometimes more than a punch to the gut!

    We are only as good as the examples we set for our children. So as a mother, I beg you to think about the words you are using as an adjective. You set the example for your children. If they hear you say them, chances are, they are repeating them.