“Normal” is Only a setting on the Dryer

Posted: February 20, 2013 in Autism, Neurodiversity, Parenting
Tags: , , , ,
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T, nearly age 12, and his little brother.

All my life, I’ve never known what it was like to feel or to be what most consider “normal”.  For me it’s such an alien concept to even try to be like everyone else. I have tried, trust me, I’ve tried. But this debut of my blog isn’t going to be about me. It’s going to be about how I learned that it’s truly okay to be different. And to truly accept it and others who are different from even me.

February 28, 2001 was one of the best days of my life because my son, T, was born. I had a hard time adjusting to motherhood for the first time because once you lose your independence and have a little one depending on your every need, that is quite a shock. Anyway, that day changed my life forever and little did I know how much my life would be changed by this little man. In his first 2 to 3 yrs, I noticed some odd things about him. How he seemed to be in his own little world. Lined up his toys and didn’t play with them in (again, here’s the word again!) “normal” way. He wasn’t all that interested in playing with other kids at the playground so much. Didn’t like holding hands and was never a very clingy baby,etc. But I really didn’t see anything really wrong with anything he was doing or how he behaved. Every child develops differently, right?

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T, at age 5

Then came his school years, he had some speech issues, so he was put in early childhood special ed and speech therapy. Then when he entered kindergarten that continued and he seemed happy and loved school. He was also making friends with ALL the kids. Something I actually wasn’t able to do as a child but we’ll save that one for another time. In first grade, is where the problems started. The school he was going to would call and tell us to come get him because he’d disrupted the classroom with a tantrum. Soon we were going to meetings at the school and they were trying to figure out what was “wrong” with him. Anyway, soon i noticed, T was not getting invites to birthday parties like he used to. And it seemed at school functions the other kids would avoid him. This really broke my heart.

The school started bringing up ADHD and some other behavioral diagnosis. But this is when I first heard the word “Autism” when refering to my son. At this time, I really didn’t know about autism that much. Except for,yes, movies like Rain Man. It took a whole year or so before I’d get my son diagnosed. Not out of denial or fear, but because of not having insurance.

So, my son is finally diagnosed with Autism and anxiety disorder. My reaction? Well, I was relieved! I was actually happy that it was not ADHD because I know what that would mean. The school/doctors would want to put him on drugs. I was misdiagnosed with ADHD as a kid, and am very much against drugging young kids, so the concept scared me.

So, my beautiful son is autistic. So what do I do? Naturally find out all I can about this disorder that we now know affects approximately 1 in 88, of course!! I go home, and google all i could on autism. What did I find? A lot of negative and misery ridden propaganda from so called experts who want to eradicate people like my son. I said to myself, “ok, this cannot be all there is on autism and it can’t be this bad.” I already felt that my son was great just how he is and that there wasn’t anything wrong with him and i just wanted to understand him more so that I could know how to help him through his difficulties. That’s when I decided, if I really want to know about autism, I need to talk to the autistic adults. I mean that’s just common sense right? But it’s something that the media really doesn’t do too often and organizations like Autism Speaks don’t even include Autistics in their conversation.

So, I made some autistic friends! yes, yes I did! And I love them!  And it helped me. Helped me to see that autism is simply a way of being with sometimes debilitating symptoms. It’s not all misery and stress and whatever else “others” may lead you to believe. And it’s OKAY to be different. Differences are good. And ‘being normal’ really is just a setting on the dryer! And I celebrate that everyday with my beautiful autistic son!

Hope you enjoyed my first attempt at blogging.

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Comments
  1. Judy Stern says:

    I applaud you and your attitude! I teach children with autism, and I absolutely love them! They are a joy to work with, smart, and unique. Don’t believe the hype, and always advocate for T. You guys deserve the best!

  2. Jessi says:

    Just wanted to let you know someone is reading this! ❤ keep going momma!

  3. LenaJeanne says:

    Even though I have only known you for a short time I have grown to loving you and yours. It’s always so great to see a fellow autistic speak out..and promote their children. THere is no shame in the name of autism. Can’t wait to meet you one day!

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