So today my post may ruffle some feathers but i’m going to speak my mind anyway. If you are someone who disagrees or is offended by my opinion then I am sorry, we are all entitled to our own opinion and I am speaking mine. I have known Brody had autism since he was very young, about 18 months old although he was not officially diagnosed until May of this year. I had little to no experience with autism so this was a whole new world I plunged into head first, I instantly felt overwhelmed. Taking in so much information at one time made it hard to sort out my own thoughts and to see where Brody fit in this community.
Right off the bat I noticed a trend that I have touched on somewhat in some of my previous posts and its something that I dont want to be associated with.
There seems to be sort of division being created between mothers and “Autism moms” and I cant seem to wrap my head around why. I have read blog posts, Facebook statuses, instagram captions and viewed pages after pages online that have memes or posts of parents putting themselves above other parents. While my child has a disability, it is not a contest or something that should be made to feel like I have it so much harder then others. At the end of these posts I always see “Only autism parents will understand” and I cant stand behind it. There is a wide range of disabilities in the world, parents and families with challenges, individuals coping with loss or health problems, the list goes on. I am all for being a community, having reminders on my newsfeed that I am not alone in having a child with autism and knowing some of the things I face are shared with people all over the world. While having a child with autism is a challenge at times and forces me to go about our day differently then a “typical” kid may, I realize that others are also doing the same. The quote that says ” Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about” applies here. I try to apply it to others and I hope others look at us and realize the same thing. While having Brody as my son presents its challenges, he is healthy and happy kid and I am a protective and loving parent who wants nothing but the best for my son. I think all parents feel the same in this aspect and I think this is what should be focused more on. I would love to have Brody feel included with the other children his age, go to birthday parties, play at the playground and make friends like a 3 year old should be. I also don’t know many people who have kids with disabilities but I still am friends with so many parents. I think the problem is that posts where “autism parents” put themselves on a different level then other parents, it makes it uncomfortable for parents of “typical” kids to know how to interact with kids like Brody and parents like me. I see those posts putting us on a different level and in the same breath I see posts begging for inclusion and acceptance from those in the autism community and this is where it must be confusing. You cant ask for acceptance and say you’re just like everyone else then post a meme stating something and follow it up with “only autism parents understand”. I hope that we can start really looking at what we post and the impression it gives off to those reading so we can continue to be accepted and smooth the interactions and just appreciate each others company and the uniqueness we bring to the table.
This leads me into my next topic. August and September is the time for school to kick off and its a very exciting time for parents and kids (hopefully) and can be extremely chaotic and sometimes stressful. I know there are a lot of things to check of the list for supplies, making sure you’re aware of classes your child will be attending, teachers who will be instructing the classes and the after school activities your kid will be enrolled in. In this whirlwind that is called back to school, please take the time to sit down and have a talk with your child about something important that needs to be taught to our youth : bullying and acceptance. I previously posted about a 13 year old who committed suicide because he was bullied so severely and I hope that stories like this lessen because any life lost because of bullying is too many. I am also aware that like myself, everyone may not have had many interactions with those who have a disability growing up.This can make kids unaware of some of the things that may come with a disability such as different tendencies in behaviors, physical appearance and speech issues or even in some cases like Brody, being non-verbal. Take a moment and have a talk with your child about what that may look like along with how to treat those who may need some extra understanding and kindness.
I would like if we all entered into the new school year with a feeling of one community, not a divided one. Kids are a blessing and deserve to feel welcomed no matter what, they are our future. I also would like to welcome anyone who had any questions to ask parents like myself if you’re unsure how to approach a topic like this, anything you may be unsure about or just what exactly the diagnosis is. I am sure that I can speak for most parents of kids with disabilities that I would rather answer questions then be treated differently or avoided because it is uncomfortable. I am learning every day I have Brody in my life and I would love to help others learn as well, I am hoping my blog is one way to spread the word and make things like autism a more comfortable topic to discuss. I am excited to start a new school year, see what Brody and his classmates take on and to have an excellent teacher to encourage these special kids. I am enjoying all the back to school photos and I love seeing how much love is behind all the posts, it is such an exciting and scary time for parents to see you child growing and becoming more independent. Its just so encouraging to see the positivity being sent out in the world and I hope it carries through the year and doesn’t die off because our children feed off of that energy.
I’d like to end on a bragging note about Brody, he has made so much progress and really shown how much information he has retained lately and it is so awesome.
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Just got blog bombed, Brody had something to say so that is what he wrote! haha. Wonder what he was trying to say.
Anyway, Brody had his Paw Patrol toys lined up so I started counting, 1,2,3,4,5! I go to do it again and I go 1, Brody goes 2,3 then sounds attempting to be 4 &5. He clearly said two and three though. I had no idea that he knew to count like that. He even made me point my finger along with each dog. That was really neat and I wish I could have caught it on camera but still happy I got to see that. Brodys drawing has also improved so much lately, It amazes me to see his little drawings transform. Below is the progression from Spring until now. I hope you enjoy his works of art like I do. Have a great night everyone and enjoy this time with your children before the break neck pace of the school year begins.