Saturday, December 31, 2011

Don’t feel sorry for me

A couple of weekends ago I was working 1st shift on an airplane in the factory and I got to talking to one of the shop guys about the upcoming holiday, kids and such. When I mentioned that my choices this year were based on how best to help Alvin and mentioned that he had a form of autism he got very quiet and said, “I’m so sorry. That has to be so hard on you and your family.”

While his reaction is normal and I understand that part, I think my response caught him off guard.

I immediately said “I’m not. Alvin is very unique and autism or not he is still a 4 year old boy and at times just has more quirks than other kids his age. Even if we didn’t have the diagnosis I would (and do) treat him like a normal 4 year old.

I guess after a year of dealing with this I’m starting to learn to not let autism/asperger’s syndrome define my son. The diagnosis was a huge help to understanding him, but it doesn’t define him or his future. W and I have a running joke that our goal like any other parent is to raise him to the point that he can be self sufficient and leave our house!

Lately I’ve made it a point to reshape my view on autism.

Autism is not an excuse but a reason behind why Alvin acts the way he does. 

I’m not willing to just accept things as they are and shelter him from the world. I’m not willing to take the easy road. Lately we have been pushing him very slowly but surely. Every week there is a new challenge; be it at the gym, music therapy or just normal social interactions. We have begun to push his limits and its working. Verbal skills have increased and he is becoming quite the little professor. He has great manners and says hi and bye to everyone we meet. It sounds awkward as anything, but that doesn’t matter. The point is he is talking and interacting in his own way. He has now done 2 camps at The Little Gym and while the separation was hard at the first one it got better with the second, the rest of both of the 3 hour camps were deemed a success.

I guess what I am getting at here is that most days the fact that he has this mess fails to make any difference in what we do. I don’t feel sorry for us and don’t expect anyone else to. Sure I would love more understanding but who wouldn’t. I guess through all the craziness it can be I’ve adopted W (my husband’s) outlook on it. Autism can be pretty awesome if you just take the time to get to know the person!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, I agree! When my son was little and I explained why he was behaving a certain way, I was actually told that I was making up an excuse for his 'bad' behavior.
    He's now thirteen, which comes with it's own awkwardness, but I'm happy to say that when I have a reason to tell someone he has Asperger's, they're surprised because they 'couldn't tell'. I am so proud of him... and I don't feel sorry for him or our family. He's awesome just the way he is. :)