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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Hardest Thing About Being an Autism Mom

Life with autism isn't always peachy; if you read my blog regularly you're already aware of that.  There are good times and bad times, laughter and crying.  (Mostly laughter in this family!)  There is one thing that tends to get me down in the dumps - what I consider to be the hardest thing about being an autism mom.

Watching Josie interact with her neurotypical peers.

I don't want anybody to take this the wrong way!  I'm very proud of all of the little kiddos that I know, I love to watch them grow and develop.  It can be refreshing to watch Josie's little friends playing in a "normal" way.  It's a joy to interact with them, to be able to play games with them, to have conversations with them.  

But for a few minutes afterwards...  it hits home.  I really realize how different my little girl is.

I worry for her...  will she ever fit in?  She will never be the same as a neurotypical child - and that I am completely okay with.  I think being different is something to be proud of, rather than ashamed of.  But I do want her to fit in, find a place in life she is happy with, have friends, not be bullied, take part in activities she enjoys...  I don't want her to be embarrassed, to be sad, feel lonely, feel outcasted by her peers.

At the age she's at now, she's fine.  Young children don't question differences, they accept them.  Most of the time they don't even notice she's different (although this is starting to change.)  What will happen once she is in school though?  Will she be able to find friends who will continue to accept her the way she is?  Will her peers like her and stick up for her?  Or will she become a victim of bullying?

All these kinds of thoughts race through my mind...  and I let them race through because they need to leave quickly.

I must return to the reality of the present as fast as I can.  I cannot allow myself to be absorbed and ruminate.  

Because the fact of the matter is that Josie is really amazing!  She has come so far in the last year.  We went from having no language, to having a large vocabulary.  We went from having a dozen meltdowns before noon to being surprised when a meltdown happens now.  Josie actually interacts with the kids now; six months ago you wouldn't have been able to say that.  She hugs, she kisses, she shows love.  Now she smiles, gets excited, and tries to communicate.

Josie is strong, independent, energetic, smart, inventive, resourceful, affectionate, amusing, charming and a constant wonder.

Most importantly, we are helping her to be happy.

And that is what really matters.

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