Friday, January 11, 2013


I am just going to come right out and say it.  I am just going to lay it out there.  Parents that do not have children with special needs have NO idea what "we" are going through.  I don't say that to be mean or spitefull.  I don't say that to be inclusive, or cliquey or to even mean that life is so much harder for us.  Everyone, even those with regular kids, everyone has their cross to bear.  Everyone is busy, everyone has problems, everyone has their bad days.  But the day to day struggles, the constant agonizing worry, their uncertain futures, those things set us apart from the others.

From the time that Katie was diagnosed with Autism, I had people giving me advice.  I got phone calls from all over with books and articles and TV specials and documentaries that I should watch.  None of that reached me, none of that helped me at all.  One time a news program was running a clip about Autism, and I turned to my husband and said, "The phone is going to start ringing, don't even answer it."  Sure enough, it started.  People mean well, they do.  Family means well.  But in the beginning, it was very hard for me to watch other people, or read about other people, that were going through the same struggles that I was.  It was like reading about MY pain, and who wants to do that?  It is easier now, but I still tend to shy away from these kind of things.  So who is out there watching them if the parents of autistic children aren't?  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, siblings, teachers, and anyone else that has a special someone in their life affected by autism.

As I have said before (and ripped off from Hillary), it takes a village to raise a child with Autism, so we will call the special people in the children's lives "the villagers". I think it is very important, and very beneficial, for the villagers to watch the TV shows and read the articles.  They see these children a little here and there, but to really get a good picture of what they are like day to day, or even what it is like "behind the scenes", it might help them to do a little research.

I was blown away when the TV show "Parenthood" came out 4 years ago.  I was extremely skeptical when I heard that they were going to have a boy with Asbergers on it.  I thought that I would be really disappointed in how they portrayed it, and I KNEW that they would just gloss over it, and not really capture the whole impact of the Autism spectrum.  But, let me tell you, they NAILED it!  I have never cried and laughed and related to something so well in my whole autism-mother career.  They show the frustration, the love, the denial, the acceptance, the sibling implications, the extended family involvement, the friends issues, the social aspects, the sensory challenges, the dietary complications......I could go on and on.  If you even come across a family that knows someone recently diagnosed, tell them to go get the first season of Parenthood on DVD.  Then they will see the minute by minute, constant struggles that the Autism spectrum presents.  I have learned so much from watching the show myself.  It is now in it's fourth season, and I am not caught up on watching it, but I am starting over with my first season DVDs.

I don't know why I apologize so much, or try to over explain myself as to not offend anyone while writing my blogs.  I suppose it is the "people pleaser" in me, the non-confrontational me that feels the need to smooth down the feathers I think I might be ruffling when I write about our Adventures in Autism.  I guess when I stop to think about it, why would someone get upset with something I have to say about MY adventures and MY struggles and MY daughter and her issues?  I am not claiming to know everything, or represent Autism exclusively, or act like Autism is the only disorder in the world, or the worse thing to ever happen to a child.  But I know people, and people read into things, and make what I say directed at them.  In an episode of Parenthood, the dad has to cancel on his nephew for playing baseball because his son with Asbergers is having a meltdown.  The dad gets yelled at for ditching the nephew, who got his feelings hurt, as he is trying to deal with his own Asberger crisis.  The look on his face in that moment says it all.  The "are you kidding me" look.  The "do you want to switch places with me and then decide that you are going to be mad at me" look.  I know that look, I OWN that look.  So no more apologizing from me.  I am going to be the parent I need to be, for all my children.  I am going to protect them, and cherish them, and love them, and then I am going to tell you all about it.  And if you ever want a tiny glimpse into what our lives, our Adventures in Autism are really like, come join me on the couch for an episode of Parenthood.  Bring your own tissues.

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