Sunday, August 30, 2009

Autism: Finding My Voice

Pretty ironic actually, but for a communication disorder, autism sure gets parents talking. I don't think there's an Autism Mom out there who hasn't had to learn to speak up, whether it is something they liked to do in the past or not. Being a special needs parent means encountering special situations, and, let's be frank...encountering a lot of ignorance along the way!
A list of examples would be countless...from cashiers weighing in when I'm speaking to my boy to the portrait studio lady who asked my little guy why he couldn't just sit still like his's annoying. REALLY annoying.
But it's not these little brush ups that get my tongue wagging. With all invisible disabilities, parents are used to people not being very understanding of their child's behaviour. You get used to people not getting it.
What really bothers me, is that I have found I've had to be most assertive in places where you think you'd find more support!!! (Oh..fellow autism parents...I just know you are nodding your heads right now.) There are sometimes professionals who aren't being professional, service agencies who forget who they're servicing, other autism parents who think that their kids are the only one with needs....etc. etc.
Here's one a soccer game this summer, some other child's home therapist actually interrupted me while I was talking to Aiden about an incident, and proceeded to speak to him herself. And next thing you know, I was hearing myself say, "Excuse me, but I don't need your help to parent my child." OH MY GOD! I couldn't believe I had said that to someone! Was I right in saying it? Yip. No doubt. What made me feel crappy is that I have gotten so used to having to speak up, that it now happened as second nature. I don't want to always be on the defense, always ready to step in and defend. I feel like Mommy Wolf sometimes.
But that's it, all parents have to look out for their kids. All parents have to speak up for their kids. We just have to do it a little more often.

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