You would think I would get enough of this topic. I talk about this very issue often on my personal Facebook page (add me), and I’ve touched on it on my blog page as well (GlazedHamm). I talk about it with family and friends, complete strangers too, and yet I still feel the need to continue to talk about it. It doesn’t often bother that others feel differently as I do, but it bothers me that they feel as though I don’t love my children as much as they love theirs. Or that I haven’t accepted their Autism. And therefore, yet another post about this topic…yet again.
Too many feel as though not loving their child’s Autism equates to not loving your child. And I concede that this would be true…for those who view Autism as in integral part of their child’s being, some necessary component that completes them, and makes them who they are. I am not one of those people. My sons HAVE Autism. My sons are NOT Autism. Their whole self, being, and essence is greater than Autism.
I acknowledge shared characteristics and personality traits among those on the spectrum. I enjoy many a memes aimed at bringing this community together through the celebration of our shared experiences (“you know you’re an Autism parent when…”). I find strength and friendship in this bond I share with others walking a similar path, however I am unsure how I feel about the seemingly conflicting messages we convey. We pound on about their sameness, while screaming about their uniqueness. I am often guilty of the same, and I honestly am unsure if there is or isn’t anything inherently wrong with this.
I feel as though these share experiences, those similar characteristics and traits I have enjoyed sharing with others and bonding, this sameness, boxes in my children…encloses them within a wall of Autism, blanketed by a sheet of more Autism. Yes, my child likes to murder my computer mouse with repetitive clicks looking for videos on YouTube, same as yours. My child flaps, just as yours flaps. My son has GI issues, just like yours. But even in all that sea of sameness, my children are their own beings. I feel that that often gets lost. We forget that our children are individual little humans with their own thoughts and feelings. They are unique in their own right. They have their own personalities, temperaments, and quirks. Their own likes and dislikes, and their own interests…apart from others, even others with Autism.
I found myself drifting from the original point of this post, I’ll attempt to tie all this in together. It is my insistence for MYSELF to view my children as more than Autism that has garnered the ire of those planted firmly in the “Autism is who they/we are” camp. I have actually been called names for holding such a position, cursed at, which I find insanely ludicrous, and honestly a bit hilarious. Names outside of what I have been given at birth harm me little, I take issue with the insinuation that I cannot possibly love my child’s whole self if I denied a part of who they are. I don’t deny any part of their having Autism. In fact, I have embraced that fact. I simply do not believe their Autism is a significant part of who they are that makes them who they are as a person. Does Autism contribute to certain aspects of their whole self, both positively and negatively? Yes, I do believe so. Is Autism solely responsible for developing their whole self/being? No, I do not believe so. Autism affects each and every single individual that has it differently. You know the saying, “if you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism.” I personally feel that Autism affects every individual differently because each and every single person is different. From the start. Autism doesn’t make my children who they are, and I simply prefer that my children not be defined by their Autism. They are so much more.
And in closing, we need to accept that others may have views that dissent from our own. It’s okay to have a difference in opinion. Not everyone is going to agree with everything I say, and I am okay with that. It’s too bad many others aren’t. Do better people. Or don’t, and continue to send me your angry messages.