Happy Monday! This week is Autism Awareness Week, so I’m giving some encouragement to you parents out there!
I say all that to say that when our son Scott (who is now 12) was 2.5-3, we didn’t know he had autism. If we had known, we likely would have done food completely differently — and done it to a detriment to him.
“Really. Besides, I want the people at Hot Topic to think I fit in.”
That took my breath away. All of this assumption that he doesn’t care, that social situations are meaningless to him completely flew out the window.
He cares. He knows he doesn’t fit in. He didn’t say he wanted to fit in. He said he wanted them to think he fits in.
I know parenting an autistic child is hard – because I am that parent. I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve actually stumbled and fallen down the stairs, breaking my tailbone and causing me years of pain that took even more sleep from me. I’ve lost my kid in busy malls and churches and playgrounds because he used to wander away with innocence, chasing whatever light caught his eye. I’ve been frustrated to the point that I’ve had to deadbolt all of the exterior doors to the house so no one could escape, and go into my room and shut the door and just fall on my knees, unable to speak words, sobbing silently for God to help me get through another day. I’ve cleaned up after the daily bowel movement accident that my 8-year-old had, again, wondering if I was going to have to be doing that when he was 18. I’ve sat through the meeting where a school administrator kicked our son out of their kindergarten program because the teacher just didn’t want him anymore. We’ve pulled our family out of a church we loved because our son couldn’t deal with the noise in the children’s church or the worship service. And, God help me, I know more about Stampy Longnose than I would ever want to know.