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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Autism, I'm in it for the perks.

While talking online with some fellow in the trenches parents this morning, one mom wanted to know if any of us ever felt "stabby" when hearing a parent of a typical kid tell you how so lucky you are that your kid gets free summer school.  How super hard it is to find a good camp. 

Stabby?  Yes.  I also feel slappy, kicky, and throw down!  How I related to this mom!  This has been said to me pretty much every year the kiddo has been in school.  You know what?  I would love the problem of trying to find a good camp. Can I have that problem for a change?  I told her to reply to the person in question "Autism, yes, I'm in it for the perks!" 

It got us all thinking though.  There are some perks and I have mentioned one or two before.  So here are a few off the top of my head.

1) The bus stop is my driveway.  Sweetest perk!  For reals.  I watch him get on the bus from my door.  Sometimes still in slippers and now and then, pajamas.  I'm still sipping my umpteenth cup of coffee.  He walks three feet.  BOOM!  The bus.  Same for drop off.  I just open the door and read gossip sites on my smart phone while sitting on my steps with the dog.

2) Great therapists.  I have met some of the most dedicated and awesome professionals of kids and kid stuff there is!  When I am banging my head against the wall, I have "people" to go to with questions, concerns and WTF's!?!?!  They help.  Hello Magic Speech Therapist that has finally gotten my kid to eat.  I would marry her! 

3) Super fantastic online community.  Oh lord have you all saved my sanity more times than I can count.   4:30 am wake up from the boy.  Somebody else is up and totally ready to talk online.  Be it "oh my effing god I'm gonna die I'm so tired" bitching.  Or "Girl, did you see Downton Abbey last night? Bates is free!"   

4) Child study team.  Dude, my kid has an entourage at school.  Autism think tank!  When we meet, stuff gets done!

5) Alternative treatments.  There is a part of the parent's journey where you just start researching every treatment you can find because you want to help your kid.  You will try anything.  Stuff that maybe five years ago, you would of scoffed at as bullshit.  Not now!  Insurance gives me 30 visits?  OK let's give it a whirl.   I find this now ripples into my health choices too. 

6) The littlest things.  The stuff that catches your breath and brings tears to your eyes.  The good, the bad and even the ugly.   The progress that can't be traditionally measured but it means the world to you in that moment.  Savor it.  Never let anyone take that away from you.  No matter what it is.  Never apologize for it.  It is a BIG deal. 

7) Problem solving!  I find myself looking at things at ten different angles now.  For him and for my life.  This has been enlightening. 

So yeah, there are perks.  But please, for the love of god, don't ever tell an autism parent how lucky they are to get "free camp" in the summer.   They won't share their side of fries with you.  


25 comments:

  1. LOVE this! And, um, I don't really like to share my fries...ever. Does that make me a bad autism mama? ;-)

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  2. Oooh Oooh! I have one! You have a GREAT excuse to get out of any Chuck-E-Cheese/sensory overstimulating party experience that YOU PERSONALLY cannot stand. Yeah, sorry, he can't deal with that...

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    1. Haha! Don't tell people that one! We don't need them to know that secret perk!

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  3. Thanks for writing this :)

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  4. Like you were in my head and wrote what I think. Thanks!!!! :)

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  5. This is awesomesauce...with a side of fries. You covered some great perks here!

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  6. I've been told "I love how you celebrate the most mundane accomplishments of your child. He's lucky to have you as a mom." It was meant as an insult to an extent, but I said "bless your heart!" and moved on. Great post. Biggest "perk" of autism that I have found is how it teaches you to never take a single thing for granted and, yes, to celebrate the "small" things. Those are the ones that usually stand out.

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  7. Don't forget handicap placards if your child is a bolter! Raining buckets when you have to get the kid into a store with no parking for a mile? BAM! Up front parking!

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  8. I'm new here, I love this. Being an autism mama made me give up so many of my neurosis and strive for perfectionism-isms. It also served me a giant slice of humble pie for thinking I "made" my older kids so smart :)) they are reaping the benefits of the post-autism me. I can really, really appreciate their accomplishments now- the 7 year old can tie her shoes?? Wow amazing! The 9.5 year old reads Lord of the rings? Astounding!! My new perspective is my perk.

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  9. I will be using that comeback in the future for sure.

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  10. Such awesomeness here. Love. =)

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  11. Love this because I have had parents tell me the same thing about summer camp. I just never know what to say to that because I am a nice lady:)

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  12. queue jumping is the best perk.."err my child was next on the ride".."yeah well my child has a special needs pass!" in your face 2 hour queue!!

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  13. It feels almost mean to tell someone that my kid is very touch-avoidance (among other things!), and that his hugs mean more than her kids hugs. But to me, they do.

    -Liz

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  14. Number 6 brought tears to my eyes. I am not alone.

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  15. I feel you - a good friend of ours mentions that my son (age 3 1/2) gets free preschool almost EVERY time I see her. She's always saying "well it's free, right?" UGH. I've even said to her that I'd do anything to live a life where he doesn't qualify for free school. Does she get it? NOPE. Might have to find some new friends. The ones you chat with online at 4:30am sound perfect! Time for me to find some of them.

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  17. If your child doesn't need summer school, Charis Hills is a WONDERFUL camp for kiddos on the spectrum!! (www.charishills.org)
    I am not an ASD momma, just an SLP to be, and 2 summers spent as a counselor at Charis. check it out :) thank you for sharing, I hope reading about your experiences will make me a better, more understanding speech path in the future!

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  18. I just found your site through a Facebook post. I think this is awesome and look forward to reading more.

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