Recently on a Facebook group I belong to a woman stated that it was not her job to tell people about her sons Autism because they want him to have the most normal life possible. This troubled me because it really is the exact opposite. It absolutely is our job to educate people about our children’s differences and difficulties. How are people supposed to know our child needs the aisle seat at the movies or the booth at the back corner of the restaurant, or even a little more understanding when dealing with certain social situations, or why the 13 year old has broken down in tears in the middle of the grocery store and dosnt really know why?
For 10 years we knew my daughter was different but never had her formally diagnosed because I really just didn’t care. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely 100% care about my baby I just didn’t care that she was different because she has always been an absolutely amazing and beautiful gift from God. As she has gotten older I realized how important it was to not only educate myself about ASD but how absolutely important it is to educate others do that she can have the most “normal” life possible.
My daughter is extremely smart, talented and full of life but there are times when she shuts down because her anxiety levels are through the roof and the world becomes to much for her. She becomes over stimulated or panicked and completely breaks down. Her interactions with others are not “normal” for a 13 year old and sometimes her mannerisms and behaviours resemble that of somebody much younger then her. People think she is “strange” and it usually becomes my job to educate them on why she acts the way she does because she doesn’t quite have the ability to do it herself, but she is getting better at helping her peers understand. When people understand they are more able to interact with her in a way that makes everyone comfortable and as a result she is becoming more outgoing and making wonderful friends because they don’t judge her when she’s acting “strangely”.
She is not allowed to use her ASD as an excuse to be lazy or “entitled” but she is allowed to use it as a tool to help others understand what makes her unique and special.
As parents with children who are “different” we are our children’s biggest ally, public educator and strongest adovacte