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Monday, April 30, 2012

From The Mom Cave to "I Wish I Didn't Have Asperger's": #AutismPositivity 2012 Flash Blog

A couple weeks ago, an anonymous person found his way to a blog using the search words, "I wish I didn't have Asperger's." Today, the autism community, individually and collectively, is offering a response to this unnamed person.

Dear "I Wish I Didn't Have Asperger's":

I don't know if you are a male or female, minor or adult. I don't know if you sat down to the computer and typed your query in a moment of strength or of weakness. We are, after all, strangers.

I am the mother of two children with autism.

I told our younger son, king of the search engines, about your recent search and asked him what he thought about it. He said simply, "I'd tell him that I wish I had a laser so that I could zap it out of him."

Really?

"Well, what about your older brother?" I asked. Our older son is low verbal and more severely affected with autism. "Would you want autism to be zapped out of him also?"

"Yep," he answered simply. I was sad. I understood, and I was too afraid to ask him if he wanted his own autism zapped away.

Here is my honest answer: if I had that magic laser, I'd zap it out of all of you. I would. In fact, I practically have tried to zap it out of my kids with just about any treatment I could find. That was back in the early days after diagnosis.

I wanted it gone also.

I wanted our kids to sleep. I wanted our older son to talk. I didn't want any more gastric pain or sensory pain or social anxiety. I didn't want locks on doors and windows or family arguments or toileting accidents or crippling fear. I didn't want people to look at our kids strangely any more.

I wanted to be normal.

What is normal, anyway? As I grew more comfortable in my own shoes as a mother to these two special children, I became more certain every day that we created our own definition--and that it wouldn't happen overnight.

As a mother to two children with autism, I am a spectator to their lives, an advocate when called to duty,and a cheerleader always. I stand in awe of their strength.

To them and to you, I want to say, "Thank you".

Thank you for not only living your life loudly, but for screaming it from the rooftops so that a generation of medical science, of educators, of neighbors, family members and of friends can learn.

Thank you for leading by example.

Thank you for making your life seen today so that autistic people tomorrow can be better understood.

As a community, we've not yet hit our stride. We're getting there, and often we're looking to you to blaze the trail.

Thank you. I know that it isn't easy.

In our house, our quest is to scale those hills to progress each day, even the ones that seem insurmountable. For, really, what other choice is there?

On our way, we lose our footing. We stumble. We fall.

We might even wish that we weren't on the journey.

But, then we get back up, and we keep moving forward until one day, we can stand at the zenith of our climb where autism no longer defines us but is merely a part of us.

Thank you and thanks to the countless others in the autism community for not giving up on the climb. This is a joint effort, and we all have our place in it. Part of yours was not too long ago when you created a search about not having Asperger's.

I have empathy for your situation. I have gratitude for your recent efforts, and I have hope for the future.


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This entry was written as part of Autism Positivity Day Flash Blog 2012 and is the FINAL response in the Blogging A to Z April 2012--I promise there are a couple "z" words in there somewhere...

24 comments:

  1. Beautiful. Sometimes I give my kid's the laser eye. That's all I have for lasers. I don't believe in normal, it's subjective; we all have our own "quirks" and issues. I'd like to see an issue-less person. Autism just makes that more pronounced, and we put on more mileage, for therapies. I think the Autism community is amazing! I am so grateful for social media/the internet, so I can connect (with people like you) and participate in things like this Flash Blog and feel supported, not feel so alone and spread awareness. We're pretty unstoppable.

    Also a BIG WOOT! A-Z take that! Amazingly awesome job this month lady...now I suppose I'll have to get back to doing the laundry instead of blogging.

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    1. I'm thankful for you, too! And, I agree. I wanted to make the point that had this search been made even five years ago, I'm pretty sure there would have been no flash blog. Social media and what it has done for autism is great.

      I hope anyone reading this will find validation with their struggle. That's what we are all about here at the Mom Cave--recognizing the good, the bad and the ugly.

      I can't believe we made it through the month. I bet nobody wants to read this blog again!

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  2. when talking sometimes to people i didn't know well or just in general conversation, i would say about my children that were not affected medically,(and i would do that irritating quotes sign in the air)--"my so called normal children"---

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    1. Lol. Yes.

      For a few years, the term "neuro-typical" was popular. I'm not so sure it is en vogue now?

      Who knows. I think we're all quirky.

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  3. Given that magic laser, I think there are qualities we all might like to zap out of others - or ourselves. Bad eyesight, bzzzt! Compulsive eating - zing! I'd wear that sucker out.

    But, since we don't have it, we just have to look at our strengths, and appreciate them, and our weaknesses, and compensate for them.

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    1. Yes, you are right! A magic laser is what most of us want!!!

      In reality, we work with our strengths.

      The world of autism is still unchartered territory. I can imagine having autism is a burden in many ways. I know that I grow tired of offering my kids up as lessons, for example, to the school system for what programs should be offered or to the community for what support is needed.

      I don't walk in those shoes, but I walk beside them.

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  4. post this one to BlogHer.com too. You're a terrific lady and writer. Been a pleasure following you through the challenge.

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    1. Oh, gosh, and you've been kindly suggesting this ALL MONTH. Ugh. I have no clue how BlogHer works. LOL!

      Sandra, thank you so much for your support.

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  5. Amazing letter - that's akll I can say, I'm so awed by your words.

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    1. Thanks, Paula. And our son really did say zap. He DID! I knew that was my ticket to the end of A to Z! Lol!!

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  6. This is awesome. If only everything like that could be zapped away.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge Amy!!

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Kathy! Congratulations to you as well! We did it!!

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  7. I am sure my words will fail me now. My heart is so full of love, community, desire, empathy, adoration, pride and so much more. You have touched my from the first day I read your words and you continue to do so with this fantastic communication to a stranger who walks in the same world in different shoes.
    Zapping away any part of who we are would change who we are. For some, that would be a really good thing, but for most of us, it would just be a change. I understand why one would wish to relieve a child of any obstacles in their life, but it's good to remember God created these children exactly as he planned. They are all the exact person they were meant to be and given to the parents who were meant to raise them. You were chosen, they were chosen and the world is a better place because of it.
    I have never tired of hearing your stories. I have never left this page exactly as I entered it. You have made a difference in my life. In my oh-so-ordinary-life and I know you have made a difference in any family member of any autistic child who has inhaled your words.
    You see, you were also given this amazing talent to communicate and that allows your struggles and your triumphs to be shared and more importantly, understood by all who visit the Mom Cave.
    Congratulations on a marvelously done month of education and entertainment. You're a master of each.

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    1. This made me cry. You've honored and humbled me, Jo. Thank you.

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    2. I just wanted to pop in right here and say that I wholeheartedly agree with what Jo has said. If this were facebook I would 'like' her comment as hard as i could! Bravo Amy on a fantastic month and a fantastic letter!

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    3. Agree wholeheartedly. You have quite a talent and our kids are all lucky that you are on "our side"...Beautiful!
      Denine

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    4. Words TRULY fail ME Amy, so I'm stealing Jo's great sentence;
      "Congratulations on a marvelously done month of education and entertainment. You're a master of each."

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    5. :). You are always so generous. Thank you.

      I've enjoyed reading and learning from your contribution to the challenge as well!

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    6. LOL! Just saw that these were all under Jo's. WOW! Thank you all! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Your support, from every last one of you, is greatly appreciated!!

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    7. And may I add, Thank you all for piling on under my admiration post. Amy, we all adore you. And this is FUNNY! :) faf

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  8. well spoken.. to the point and full of heart, amy. :)

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    1. Thank you. Just resurfacing after a little break from the challenge. Don't know where you find your energy!!

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  9. thanks for sharing.

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