Ready for your report card? If you’re an average (below average in math, sorry teachers) student like I am then don’t be afraid, this is one you don’t have to worry about. If you’re an “A” student then it’s nothing new for you but always nice to see. Whichever type of student you are, you’re going to want to hang this on your fridge because this is one to brag about.
This post is a check in, an awareness post, appreciation post, an atta boy post. Almost five years I’ve known Brody is autistic. Times were so different then, peoples faces crumpled into a sad face when you told them, followed by a sorry or change of topic. People would whisper, not believe it, say he’s just behind or make comments about my pregnancy and how I raised him. Brody’s been bullied, pointed at, told to be quiet, stared at, had rude remarks made and just hurtful actions in general towards him. I’ll never forget the day two women in the dollar store told me they would beat Brody with a wooden spoon if he was their kid while he was crying and covering his ears to cope with sensory overload. The good news is Brody most likely won’t remember those moments and memories but I will never forget them. Now, this isn’t a sad post… keep reading. I’m here to tell you that times have changed and it’s for the better.
I know the news is overwhelming and so sad and morbid at times but let me try to make your heart a little warmer. It’s a new day and when I tell people that Brody is autistic people now smile and say things like “my friends kid has autism” or “oh! Like the show, The Good Doctor”. People also tell me how they saw a post on social media about autism, they send me articles from the news, tell me how they met someone with autism or other positive things along those lines. I wish you all could see the night and day difference in people’s reactions now and how much of a weight off my shoulders it is. I finally feel more confident going out in public, sending him to school or letting him go with other people besides me like his grandparents or nanny. The normalization and open arms to autism still floors me and makes me have faith in this world.
I want to say I see you friends and family. I see you donating to charities, bringing awareness into your classrooms, going to those birthday parties, riding miles on a bike for the cause and sharing articles. I see you commenting and liking my posts, I see you sharing my blog and being a cheerleader for us. I respect those who ask questions, who train and go to school to learn more, who reach out to me and others for advice or questions and who are just there with arms open. You’re all making a difference no matter how small you may see it. We see it. Brody sees it and it’s a ripple effect so thank you from the bottom of my heart.
You guys get an A+ on this report card, here I am saying keep it up, your effort is noticed. From a moms perspective I will say that there is so much going on behind the scenes that you don’t see as you can imagine. Brody’s academy he attends is daily therapy year round, costing $350-$400 a day. Factor in aftercare which is $1,000 a month and the many things he needs and those numbers add up fast. Our world is filled with grants and paperwork, money flying all over in an effort to make it work and keep our sanity. While all your kids are going back to school and celebrating holidays, most of the time those things don’t get understood in our house. There’s not grasping of birthdays or Santa, losing teeth or class pictures for Kindergarten. We adapt and do things our own way and thats ok with us although it can be sad at times, it’s just part of our life. Just like how you’re here for us, we are there for you and rooting for the milestones and special moments happening in your lives as well. Our milestones just look a little different like saying “no thank you” rather then yelling, trying new foods and making good eye contact. The bottom line is everyone is somewhere different in the race and while it’s different for everyone, they are all worth celebrating.
There’s a lot on the plate of a single mom and some days it’s with the help and support of you guys that we get through. So please keep it up, ask how you can help, volunteer however you can, offer some kind words, reach out and just be there. Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make a big difference in a family with special needs ( or just any parents, for that matter!). So to my amazing family, coworkers, friends who are near and far…. thank for helping us adapt to autism and loving us through it. We couldn’t do it without you. Here’s to an amazing school year for us all, lets spread this awareness to our kids as they enter it and be a living example of acceptance and understanding.