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.