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April is for AUTISM!

April 1, 2014

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April is here and time for each family and person living on the spectrum to reach out to everyone else and try to change the world however they can.  And trying to decide what to do from our little corner of autism land is hard.  Autism doesn’t show up in April and go away for us.  Autism is everyday.

 

This is Rett. He’s 5.5. He loves playing outside, dressing up like super heroes (and princesses sometimes), playing with his little sister and brother, getting Sprite from McDonald’s, singing Frozen lyrics at the top of his lungs, getting dirty, swim lessons at the Y, eating popcorn and going to the park.   Doesn’t he sound like a typical little boy? Because he is.   Autism awareness for us is sharing with parents so that they can share with their kids and everyone will give Rett that third glance.  The first is judgmental, the second is curious, the third glance is understanding.  Because even though Rett doesn’t talk like a 5.5 year old boy. Even though he sometimes chooses to go crush leaves at the park instead of joining in a game of tag, even though he has both parts of the Anna/Elsa duet memorized including sound effects and music, even though he jumps and flaps his hands when he’s excited,  underneath all of that he is just a kid.   He wants friends, wants to be accepted, wants to be loved and wants to have fun.   He’s doing his best to navigate the world.  And sometimes when he can’t meet you where you are, you may have to take a few steps over to his side.   Don’t worry, you’ll have a great view.

 

There is a big difference between high functioning autism and low functioning autism.  You might read my blog and think ‘well that doesn’t sound that bad.’ But I have learned even though I have a child with autism, I cannot compare our journey to everyone around me.  Because each child has their unique challenges and struggles and each of us as parents have to use different tools and strengths, therapies and diets and supplements to get our kid to their personal best.  And sometimes that is vastly different.  I can only share things from where we are.  But I can be empathetic for the families who struggles are bigger, who’s mountains are higher.

 

Parents’ attitudes come from many different places.  There are those that want a cure, those that want acceptance, those that want to educate, those who are just trying to survive.  Learning to accept that your child has a diagnosis and how to mesh that with the tiny newborn they placed in your arms and declared ‘perfect’ is a journey. And we aren’t all at the same stage.  Some never get past denial, some never get past anger. Some jump right on to acceptance pretty easily.  Because just like autism, we are all different.

 

So my first post for Autism Awareness month is that Rett is a 5.5 year old boy.  That should always come first.

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