Thursday, April 10, 2014

“What is this thing called Autism and why do I have it?”

“What is this thing called Autism and why do I have it?”

That very question haunts me. As I know that one day that question will be asked. I am not afraid of the answering that question, but more of the response to the answer I will give. How do you talk to your child about a disorder in terms they are going to understand? Most children are so unaware of things like disorders and diseases. In their own minds, it means that someone is sick. There is never a time where I want my children to think they are “Sick” with something. As I don’t see Autism as a sickness.

As a parent, we do everything in our power to make sure that our children learn that they all have differences. That a uniqueness about someone is a good thing. We try and teach them to be accepting of others. But how do we make them accepting of themselves? I know in my heart that the day will come when I will have to sit down and have a conversation about what Autism is. I want my children to know that they are not sick, that Autism is something that is always going to be a part of them, just like being nearsightedness is to some people. I want them to know just because they have this, doesn’t mean that they can’t live a fulfilling life. I don’t want them to think that it’s going to hold them back. But I do know that the road ahead of them is going to have it challenges, but I know that I will try to instill in them that they are fighters. To never stop fighting for themselves.

With society being the way it is, always pointing out the imperfections of us all, it’s going to be a tough world to try to convince that they have something special to offer. The trick is, is that most children out there that are autistic, just want to be accepted. They want to be loved and supported by their peers and family. Most of them don’t need to have their differences pointed out.

So when my child comes to me and asks, “What is this thing called Autism and why do I have it? My response will be this.

“You are unique to this world just as everyone else is. You have qualities to offer this world that are worthy. Autism is something makes you, you. It is what gives you your own perspective of this planet. You never had to apologize for being who you are. Yes, you have autism and yes its disorder. But it’s not something that is going to ultimately define who you are. You are your own person that deserves respect just like everyone else.”