Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Continuing the "Our Autism" conversation

Huffington Post Parents and Autism Speaks just published a post by Jessica Watson, of Four Plus an Angel, and it's wonderful! I've posted links to it via my personal and blog Facebook pages, but thought I'd bring it up here on the blog specifically as well. Jessica says she wants to encourage people to share what their autism experience is and I think it's a marvelous idea.

I'm including an excerpt of the article, a link to it in full, and my own response below. I'd really like to see more conversations started at any of these sites about what autism looks like for all of us.
From Jessica:
Since the beginning of my life as an autism mom, I have been surrounded by versions of what people think autism is. Well-meaning onlookers have mentioned that my daughter doesn't count 5,000 items in 30 seconds like Rain Man, or memorize the name of every U.S. president like that one other person with autism they know. In the early days of her diagnosis, some questioned it so much that I questioned it myself, even though we were given the label by a nationally known autism expert who just happened to be a short car ride away.
But here is the thing: Our autism is not their autism, and it's not your autism either. There is a saying out there that autism parents like to use because it is so very true:
If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism.
In an effort to help other autism parents feel more comfortable embracing how their children's autism is very similar and very different from others', I wanted to share "our autism" with you and encourage other families to do the same. I hope opening up the conversation about what it's really like helps others to stop judging from the outside looking in.
This is our autism:
Our autism is nonstop episodes of the Food Network and knowing every bus route within five miles.
It's visiting restaurants because Guy Fieri has been there and praying no one bumps into her plate.
Please enjoy the rest of Jessica's post here.

Here's a small glimpse of what our autism looks like at The Tripped Up Life castle:

Our autism is making sure all plants in the backyard are non-toxic because you can be sure she'll be eating every one of them at some point. It's trying desperately to stay in front of the hyperactivity and mischief that results. It's trying to draw out another girl from her quiet spaces. It's offering plenty of places for jumping and running and swinging. It's being forever flexible and yet very, very planned. 

It's watching the mystery of having triplets - 2 with autism and 1 without - and also realizing that their triplet experience is so completely different than what typical multiples experience. It's realizing the promise we got from others, "triplets really start getting easy at age 4" has had absolutely NO bearing in our world and we really don't know when triplets will ever start getting easier. 

It's hearing a little voice saying "Mwah" and feeling your heart squeeze as you give her the kisses she's asking for. It's hearing Fefame Feet (Sesame Street) requested for the 15th time today and still just being excited because it's an actual thing you KNOW she wants and it's clear enough that even Grandma can understand it. It's hearing songs being sung and melodies chanted constantly but hardly ever hearing either of them say Mama very often. It's hoping that pull-ups will no longer be part of our world someday and yet being grateful they're brushing their teeth, getting dressed and usually using utensils to eat. 

It's always feeling like you never get a chance to simply enjoy the wonder of childhood with your neurotypical triplet and yet having moments of pure joy when you see all three truly enjoy being together. 

It's more than you ever imagined, fuller than you could have dreamed, and a constant study in contradictions.

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