Autism Awareness

Autism Awareness

I haven’t had an autism post in almost a year. I’m pretty pleased with that. I mean, I’ve had some posts that could, maybe, possibly have been filed under “autism”, but they encompassed so much more that I felt they were better sorted elsewhere. Watch, now I’ll have a string of them and of nothing else. 

Last week there was Autism Awareness Day. I read some positive articles, some negative articles, and some articles that were just… interesting. 

I don’t feel the need for any awareness days of any kind. No [insert variety of] cancer awareness days. No MS awareness days. No CP awareness days. No [whatever you ailment] awareness days. The people who have those things are aware of them on a daily basis. The loved ones, the friends, the acquaintances of the people who have those things are aware of them, if not daily, then weekly anyway. 

I don’t need to be told to celebrate my son any more than I need to be told to hide him. I don’t need to raise money for research when the bulk of that money goes to cover administrative costs and not to fund the researchers. I’m kind of past the point of needing to research the why’s and how’s of autism and am far into pouring money into families who need supplies now, not answers maybe sometime in the far-flung future. I don’t care if standing on my head while eating a box of bonbons while a raccoon holds my ankle caused my child’s autism, or it really was just an unlucky roll of the genetic dice, or if it was caused by pollution (of any sort), or whatever. It’s done. We’re not fixing it. We’re working with it. We’re living around it. 

image from Awareness Gift Boutique Support Shirts & Gifts
image from Awareness Gift Boutique Support Shirts & Gifts

My son is awesome. We recently came out of his IEP meeting and its been a week or two, and I’m just floored, in retrospect, that they didn’t realize how far M has come. But they haven’t lived with him. They aren’t around him 24/7. Some of them didn’t know him before this year. So of course they don’t know that he didn’t communicate verbally in a way anyone could understand until he was in second grade. Of course they didn’t know that my walls were papered in PECS that I bought or drew myself, because no one we dealt with supplied them for free to non-verbal children. Of course they didn’t know that he didn’t have the fine motor skills to sign, or that he walked late, ate table food late, or that sometimes he still bumps into things because his proprioception sucks. Yep, we use words like proprioception. A lot. They don’t know how pleased I am with how healthy he is, how active he is, because they don’t know that I know it could be worse. They don’t know it was worse, and they don’t know I grew up with special needs kids who would never be more than an infant trapped in a body that may or may not work right. They complain about poor handwriting, and I point out he had a laptop supplied that no one requests he use. I’m jumping for joy that he can write, and he can type!, and he can and is expected to produce a level of work above his current age and grade level. 

Whew! So when “awareness” days come around, I kind of bury my head in the sand and wait for them to pass. I’m a general pessimist. Or a realist, I guess. Aren’t they the same thing? But on the flip side, things can always be so much worse. So we keep plugging along, living with autism and living with all the weird things it brings with it, because at the end of the day, my son is just like any other kid who loves horror of all sorts, steam games, Disney, cooking, and his mom, and I’m ok with that. 

[box type=”note” style=”rounded”]Image borrowed without permission, but with link back from Awareness Gift Boutique. I get no kick backs from this store. I just liked their sticker. If Awareness Gift Boutique would like me to remove the image and link, just let me know and I will do so.[/box]

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