I have a son (elementary school age) with Aspergers and I’m angry. I don’t see it as a “gift.” I will never “accept” it. I’m keeping it real about Autism. On this blog, you will hear my unedited, real feelings.
In my real life, I am a professional. I live in a well-to-do area. I put on my workclothes, go to my job, help with homework, bake cookies. I smile. I act cordial. I’m pretending all the time.
No one knows (unless you are in this boat) what it is like to be a parent of a child with special needs. Before I had kids, I never thought my kids would have a problem. My husband and I are college educated. We waited to have children until we were financially and emotionally ready. I was not over age 35 (am now). I took folic acid. I didn’t drink or eat lunch meat during my pregnancy. I breastfed for over one year (each child). And now BOTH of my children ride the Special Ed bus (the fucking short bus).
My Older Son (Aspergers/ADHD): I’ll call him John. John has had problems since my pregnancy. There were issues with his kidneys, heart, and brain. I cried every day during my pregnancy – worrying whether he be born alive, whether he would need neurosurgery, whether he would be “normal.” When he was born, all the doctors said he was fine. His apgar scores were 10/10. I mostly felt reassured… like I could breathe.
My Younger Son (ADHD/ODD): I’ll call him Alex. Alex is going into Kindergarten (special ed classroom). Alex has been a spitfire since birth. As an infant, he was social, funny, made great eye contact. BUT – he never slept, was very difficult to soothe, and cried all the time. At age 1.5, he started headbanging. I was in denial. I thought, “I can’t have two sons with problems — Alex has to be fine.” The pediatrician said not to worry. He didn’t talk until he was almost three. He got kicked out of preschool – he couldn’t obey any rules.
Ok, so you may be thinking that we: are bad parents, are overindulgent, don’t know how to set limits, have marital problems, didn’t get help early enough, are in denial, etc. You couldn’t be more wrong. I could list all the therapies we have tried, all the money we have spent, all the books we have read. Maybe in a later blog I will.
If you are a parent who IS in my shoes and you are offended in any way, don’t read this. I COMMEND you if you don’t see things as I do. If you have accepted your child’s disabilities, more power to you.