What Autism REALLY Is: A Response To An Uninformed Individual

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I wrote an article about Sesame Street introducing a new character with autism. It made me happy to see a huge corporation take notice of how very different children can be. It brought me hope that we can teach parents and children about autism and learn how to interact for the benefit of humanity. It was a happy post. It made me fell less alone in my families journey through the spectrum. When I went to check the comments that night, I found this.

Pathetic. Celebrating a disorder instead of devoting the time and energy to finding a solution. Autism has become a blanket diagnosis like ADD was before it. Parents of the so called autistic kids are the worst part. Your child isn’t special, doesn’t deserve special treatment, and is sick. Autism isn’t a “different way of looking at the world”. Get a grip on reality.

 

I never let a comment get under my skin. I write to tell my story, and I am a firm believer in that everyone is entitled to their opinion. This comment however took me by surprise. This one actually shocked me. This made my blood boil. Here is my response to this comment:

What Autism Really IS

Autism is hard.
Autism is sobering.
Autism is all consuming.
Autism is isolating.
Autism is frustrating.
Autism is EVERYWHERE.
Autism can be silent.
Autism can be loud.
Autism can cause so many other disorders.
Autism is REAL.
Autism can be treated.
Autism is hard on a marriage.
Autism is hard for siblings.

Autism will can maker you cry.
Autism will can make you smile.
Autism makes will make you cherish the milestones.
Autism makes you hug longer.
Autism makes you love harder.
Autism has been MY biggest parenting obstacle.
Autism has TAUGHT me more about parenting than any book on the planet.
Autism is a journey.

What Autism Is NOT

Autism does not define my family.
Autism does not define my child.
Autism does not mean I want you to treat me differently.
Autism is not an EXCUSE.
Autism is not a SICKNESS.
Autism is not a crutch.

I will celebrate my autistic child the same way I celebrate my other children. I applaud Sesame Street and every other company who sees the value in spreading information and education rather than hate and ignorance. The grip I have on life may falter, but know that the grip I have on protecting my children and advocating for them is tighter than a drum.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. First of all, the reason I follow you is because your son has autism and you talk about it in a real and compassionate way. My son has Asperger’s and It. Is. Real. I cannot fathom what would make a person respond like that to your post. The nicest thing I could say is that they are highly ignorant. I will not stoop to respond In an ugly way. I think they showed their true colors and I believe your response was measured and wise. Instead of separating and pointing the finger, I join you in prayer and support of your family. You are not alone.

    • Hi Kim,
      Thank you so much. We need to continue to spread education, tolerance, and compassion. The message will make it way through the globe. Thank you 🙂
      Meredith

  2. My son also has Asperger’s, and I have been told that not only is that not a real thing, he doesn’t even seem autistic, and that he was misdiagnosed so that his doctor can make more money off of us. People (including the school and teachers at times) don’t take any time to understand him or his condition. They say things like “well, if he won’t eat it, you have to make him.” or “all kids wear jeans, you have to make him.” or talk about how he’s rude and think it’s on purpose because he is very intelligent, and on the surface appears “normal.” Thank you for being another voice for our children. It’s nice to see someone that understands that it is one of the hardest things you will ever have to go through, and also one of the most beautiful things you will ever experience.

    – Suzi

  3. My son has Epilepsy and my daughter Tourette’s. Years ago when we began our journey with our son, several doctors said, he presents as an autistic child. However, my gut say otherwise. He had, by the age of 5, regressed to a baby, at age 3 and a toddler loosing all of his Kindergarden year by age 5. While he worked hard and overcame his challenges time and again, we needed help. My son needed Speech, OT, and Behavioral Therapy. My daughter consistently came to his 3 day a week therapy sessions. Sitting in the waiting room at the ripe old age of 18 months old… her best friend became a 16 year old cancer patient. This is how my daughters anxieties began, leading to OCD. My children are now 10 and 12 and while my husband and I were told, you will divorce, you will go bankrupt, if you have another child or quit your job we can help you… we choose, like you, to rise above. Our son is 3 years seizure free. While we had to homeschool him for 3 years, he now attend public school and maintains an A/B avg. He just enrolled for middle school. He is taking all Honors classes, HIS choice. My husband and I are working to become Pastors. (my husband is a Captian in the Fire Dept. I am a Children’s minister) our girl had daily challenges. We adjust.
    I just started following you. With that being said, my simple point is this, everyone has challenges. It’s how we deal with them that defines us. Stay Awesome! Because, this road is hard. It is filled with judgement and contradictions. Show love, give love, receive love! Enjoy people! Things, are just that things!
    Sip coffee! Enjoy the salt air and love your babies!
    Thank you for the wonderful community you, inspire, and encourage!
    God Bless,
    Jenn

  4. It sickens me that where there was an opportunity to show support and encouragement, someone chose to spread ugliness and ignorance. Clearly, this person has never worked in the field of special education or had a personal experience with a child who learns differently. I love your posts. It’s great to have a virtual village to lean on- thanks for being such a fun contributor!

  5. My son is 14-years old and is on the Spectrum, (Aspergers). He is a tall, handsome young man., and presents as a normal 14-year old. However in public he is quiet and shuts down in crowds. At school, he is bullied, hit, pushed and made fun of. He cannot interpret facial expressions, knows nothing of social etiquette and has other struggles. At home he is fun loving, but that translates into a young man who acts like he is 7-years old, hyper, does not realize how strong he is, or what he weighs. Some days it’s like having a 110 pound toddler. He loves video games online because the social aspect is taken out of the equation. He thinks he has all these friends, but the reality is they don’t know him. He cannot differentiate between acquaintances and friends. He requires routine, and if he sleeps in past his alarm, or something else unexpected the world comes to an end.
    People who are uneducated on the intricacies of Autism, how wide the spectrum is, are ignorant. My son has always been different, I was told it’s just a ‘boy’ thing. Well for 12-years he and us (parents) had such difficulty, we could not understand why he was the way he was. Now we find his differences, sometimes challenging, are great! He is a very curious young man and he has such an interest in Science.
    Thank you for your post, and I would love to speak with you about your blog and your son. I am new to your blog and I love it!

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