sweeping budget cuts. Awesome!
We're still less than a year into Little Dude's diagnosis, but I'm certainly far more aware of autism than I ever wanted to be. Here are, in fact, the Top Ten Things I'm Aware of About Autism.
10. We are incredibly fortunate that Little Dude's form of autism is a very functional Asperger Syndrome. It's kind of like when I had twins, and singleton moms would be like, "I don't know how you do it!" And all I could do was bow down to my friends with triplets and quads. I bow down to the parents who are struggling with more severe forms of autism. Our son is verbal. Many children with autism are not. That pretty much sums up how lucky we are right there.
9. Autism never travels alone. It brings lots of little friends to the party: sensory processing issues, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, allergies, gastrointestinal issues. I'd also like to point out that no one knows why there are so many "comorbid disorders," or how they tie in together, or really anything at all for sure, except that the number of autism diagnoses is growing alarmingly.
7. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable when people post on Facebook that "people with autism aren't looking for a cure, only acceptance." You know what? I think that's true of some people with autism. But I know that there are other people who feel differently. And while I love my son exactly as he is, I hope that some day other parents won't have to go through what parents are struggling with today. Instead of putting up a Facebook status post, contact your legislator and encourage him or her to fund autism research and education.
6. Even when you're expecting it, being told by a medical professional that your child has autism? Sucks.
5. Even so, it's not the end of the world. Life goes on after the diagnosis, and in fact life gets better. Little Dude's diagnosis helped us understand him, and the way his mind works. We are able to be better parents to him. Also, the diagnosis was the key to getting him help.
3. There is too much we don't know. Other families have very different experiences and histories than ours, but Little Dude has always been autistic. It is, very clearly, genetic in our case. (I mean, have you seen the diagram of my DNA? There's a reason I call it the "Double Helix of Crap.") But what about the kids who appear to be typically developing, only to withdraw and lose skills?
2. Awareness and sensitivity come in the most unexpected places. A guy working at GameStop blew my mind this week with his knowledge of Asperger Syndrome and his ability to engage with Little Dude. Conversely, not everyone who should know about autism does. I have met public school teachers who blew my mind by knowing literally nothing about Asperger Syndrome. As in, did not know of the existence of Asperger Syndrome. Never heard of it.
1. Although the struggles are hard, the successes are that much sweeter.