This was a great article by Jean Winegardner on why Autism moms cry so much. Well, I have heard that raising a child with Autism puts us into the category of PTSD survivors. And boy, I believe it! Everyday can be a barrage, emotionally from dealing with state service providers, sometimes contentious school districts, the contempt from our own families many times, physical assaults from our own child and maybe even more painful, the guilt we often put on ourselves about our child's disorder. There is stress on marriages, stress on family relationships, friendships (I have had my share of friends who just "don't get it") and even the stress on siblings. And this is a daily thing, no reprieve, many times Autism families cannot even get childcare for a much needed date night or just a few minutes away to themselves. And oh the sleep deprivation! If that doesn't bring you to your knees I don't know what will! This life is not for the faint of heart and yes, maybe we do cry a lot.
I tend to hold it together pretty well, and like in this article, I am a big fan of the car and behind sunglasses. I have walked out of my son's school in tears, rushing to get to the haven of my car. Early on, I remember sobbing in the car after leaving my almost 3 year old, screaming and crying for me. The guilt of leaving him even if he did "need" the early intervention ate at me. Really? Really is he better off in this scary environment with people who don't really understand or know him than at home where I know him best and can calm his inflammed sensory system?? This journey forces us to do what most do not.
And as my son has begun to recover, it hasn't made the tears any less frequent. I am still forced to see my child's deficits in black and white like most parents do not. I remember the report from the school psychologist years ago when my son was in preschool and his "cognitive ability and IQ range". Punch, right to the gut. And then you start thinking of their future. And then at a stop light the other day I remembered that and look at him now, with his peers, doing all of the same things academically and I do a little internal "F YOU!" to those standardized tests and ANYONE who wants to count out my child. If anything that fuels my drive even more to ensure the roadblocks are removed inside his body to enable him to flourish the way he was meant to.
But on the flip side, this journey certainly has enabled me to see every small achievement, which is HUGE to us, in ways that many don't. When you have a child years behind in development, the first time they tell you "NO" is a wonderful thing! Now when my kids fight I now understand what neurotypical families talk about. Hallaleujah!! For so many years my son was without words, without the interest in his sisters. Now he seems hell bent on annoying them....typical brother! Ha, I just said TYPICAL! The word that provokes much joy from Autism families. Because although we know our children are extraordinary, we still strive for typical.
HERE is Jean's article.