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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sixteen non-sentimental autism truths

No trips to Holland here.  No Hallmark moments.  No miracles.  No breakthroughs.  No shiny rainbow sparkly sentiments.  Just the truth (as I see it)

1.  You can get by on very, very little sleep if you have to.  Coffee helps.

2.  Don't worry too much about what your kids eat.  I can say from experience kids can eat food off the floor, bites of paper towels, duck sauce, pickle juice like a drink and random car crumbs---all in the blink of an eye when you turn your head---and be just fine.

3.  Kids' videos are boring.  Even the better ones are boring after you see them 100 times or so.

4.  You can learn to clean up "toileting accidents", the kind that would make most people sick for days, with barely a thought after doing it for five or six years.

5.  Don't get too attached to any of your kid's clothes.  They will be chewed on, stained up and ruined very soon.

6.  The things you dread the most will often turn out to be the easiest to deal with.  The things you never thought would be a problem will very often become huge disasters.

7.  People like to stare.  They love to look at any child acting odd.  They don't try to hide it.

8.  There will be a point at some time in your life when you will feel like punching someone for talking about their child's C in math or failure to make the elite sports team.

9.  You will argue with your spouse about petty, stupid, meaningless things, and that argument will turn into a screaming match.  You'll do this because you can't argue with your autistic child, and goll dern it, you need to argue.

10.  You will have very little social life as a family.  People don't invite you back when your child screamed for hours last time you visited.

11.  You will look forward to the first day of school like 10 Christmases combined.

12.  You will have daydreams of your child asking for every toy they see at ToyrRUs, because that involves talking and having typical child wants and desires.

13.  You will at one time or another buy something overly expensive (a therapy toy, an app, a supplement, a piece of electronics equipment) because you've read about the wonders it does for autistic kids.  You will wish that money back.

14.  You will eagerly analyze anything in your child's backpack for the slightest hint of what they did all day at school.  No matter how much information your child's teacher gives you, it will not add up to a tenth of what a typical kid tells you about their day, even if the typical kid is a surly teenager.

15.  Birthdays will be tough.  People asking you what grade your child is in will be tough.  Seeing what other kids the same age as your child can do will be tough.  Heck, a lot of things will be tough.

16.  You will delight in accomplishments that most parents wouldn't even notice.  You will be in tears of happiness over words or gestures or smiles that typical parents would take for granted.  You will have moments when you realize that the child you have is perfect.  Those moments will be fleeting, but they will be so very, very sweet.


Half A Person said...

Be very hopeful that someday Janey will make a breakthrough miracle. Never give up!

Antti said...

#1: Also running through the seven steps of acceptance as fast as you can (before the morning comes) helps.
#2: Sand smeared with cat poop, that's where I draw the line. There are limits to everything.
#3: Around the 739th time it becomes like breathing; you are aware of it and maybe even listen to the familiar lines, but pay no attention to it.
#16: Precisely!