Tuesday, April 2, 2013

World Autism Awareness Day 2013

Today, April 2nd, in fact EVERY April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. It is a day specifically set aside to educate, inform, share autism awareness.

The thing about having a child diagnosed with autism is beyond the grief, shock and disbelief, you get the "he/she will never" list. For this special day I thought I'd share you some of ours:

  • "Shame it was not 20 years ago and you could place him in care and start afresh" Speech Therapist when he was 3. This was less of a "He will never" and more of a "He is so badly broken you may regret him..."

  • "You are an overbearing, obsessive mother who cannot admit her son's shortcomings and is unduly scarring him in the process. He cannot learn." District Head for Special Needs for our area in a placement meeting when he was 6.

  • "Why does my child have to put up with a special needs child in his class? It is a drain on resources we could use to push him higher." Parent to teacher, Grade 6. He was 12 and puberty had hit. Anxiety and meltdowns were occurring on a weekly basis. Weekly, not daily. AND we had funded an aide OURSELVES to help and to lessen any impact on the other children

  • "No, we didn't put him in the Eduquest team because of his autism. He would not have coped." Grade 7 teacher who should have known better by then as he was achieving amazing things. As the principal of the school this competition was held at said to me a year later "You do realise he probably could have won?" ... yes, yes we do. We knew that at the time but you pick the battles you will win, and not the ones where ignorance will never be changed.

And then we come to the now. All those dark times where you wonder "Is it worth it?" "Is this making a difference?" "Are we doing right or are we putting him and us through all this stress for nothing?"... let me tell you in our case, and yes we wondered all of that many times, and other's words echoed consistently through our minds, it is a resounding "YES!"

This is what I posted on a Facebook group page earlier this week:

This is the boy who was told he could never learn, would never socialise, had an intellectual impairment, and whose sensory meltdowns were legendary and incindiary. This is the boy whose family always believed in him, treated Asperger Syndrome as differing abilities not a disability, who always set the bar higher so he could soar...

This is my now 15 year old performing a monologue in front of an audience of 60, a monologue he chose, directed, acted and blocked. This is my Super Aspie Boy:

My son. My amazing, compassionate, talented, confident just turned 15 in January son who has Asperger Syndrome.

Is it all worth it? You tell me.

World Autism Awareness Day april 2, 2013. Differing abilities, not disability.

A very, very proud and totally in AWE of her boys (cause her youngest rocks too)