Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Autism Homework

This morning within ten minutes I received a text from a friend and a post on my Facebook from two different people in my life that said pretty much the same thing.  "Hey have you heard about the book The Reason I Jump?" It's a book written by a non verbal autistic teenager and from reviews I've read, it's getting a lot of praise.  The man that works with the teen and helped him with the book was being interviewed last night on The Daily Show.  I suspect I'm going to hear a lot about this in the next few days. 

Here's the thing.  Yeah, I've heard about this book before.  I'm an autism mom.  I write a blog and run a Facebook page about it but honestly it is RARE when I read a book that has anything to do with autism.  Heck it's rare that I even get to read period.  It's not that I don't like to read.  Quite the opposite really and the good Lord above has given me many afternoons spent in waiting rooms at various therapies to do so.  If you put the new issue of In Style magazine in front of me and an autism book and an hour to read, you bet your sweet ass I'm going to seen sniffing the perfume ads and then rubbing them on my wrist in a sorry attempt to feel fashionable and current.  (You all ever notice that they all start smelling the same anyway?  Oh look! A coupon for my hair color.  Rip!)

At risk of sounding like a whining teenager, I don't want to read it.  I am in elbow deep in autism every damn day.  Being asked about this book this morning made me feel like I was back in high school and the teacher called on me to ask me to read my book report on it to the class.  Whoops, the dogs ate my homework??? No, you're not buying that?  I left it in my locker?  On the bus?  Ummmm it's due today??  Crap.  Can I just take the incomplete? 

Eventually I'm going to read it.  I have a feeling this is one of those few books I should.  Insight into my kid's mind and all but I can bet you dollars to donuts I will take FOREVER to read it.  I will put this book down a hundred times when it gets to real.  I will be stuck on a paragraph or two for large gaps of time with light bulb moments of "Ohhhhhh that's what my kiddo wanted" and then racked with guilt that I screwed something up by not knowing or doing the right thing.  If parental guilt was an Olympic sport, autism parents would take the gold every single time.  Of course I hope there will be a few "I knew it!" moments in there and see I was right in my gut about something.

Yeah, I'm aware of the irony of this.  Here I am asking all of you to read this while I'm having my pity party of not wanting to read that or any of the other books I have heard about.   I just have a bigger secret wish in this.  That more folks that don't have autism directly in their lives read books and blogs about this topic.  I mean it's great we autism folks have each other to read and vent and trouble shoot and whatnot.  We do need that, even when it gets painful and raw for us.  Bottling it up is no good.  We also need those hopeful stories that inspire us to go on.  Plus humor, lots and lots of humor.  We worry and cry enough.  Sarcasm saves my sanity.   I just know that if "civilians" read more books or blogs on it, well that only benefits us a bit doesn't it?  A little more compassion.  A smidge more understanding.  A tad more compromising. A few less looks. (which Pro Tip, if you think what my kiddo is doing in public looks weird, hold up a mirror honey. Your expression looks like you just smelled your own fart Mmm'kay?) 

A girl can dream can't she?  Well I would if I got to sleep. :-)  Now pardon me as I go smear on this sample of eye cream I got out of this month's Allure.


  1. Sorry, if I didn't convey my intent when I shared the news with you - I totally didn't mean it as homework at all. I was just sharing the happy news of seeing mainstream press so enthusiastic about an autism self-advocate voice. (To me, The Daily Show is mainstream) That's what got me all excited -- bridging that gap to the broader audience - the non-touched-by-autism audience -- so we can have time for eye cream and mowing the lawn and catching up on five seasons of Breaking Bad -- regular stuff.

  2. I LOVE what you said about parental guilt being an Olympic sport. Would you mind if I posted that line? If it's ok, who should I credit it to?

  3. Well just say you read it here at Autism with a side of fries or say Mama Fry. :-)

  4. You're right, who wants to read about it when we live it?? I get all I need from your blog and all the wonderful people who comment and are living it to get me thru the day!!

  5. I was really touched by how Jon Stewart urged his audience to read this book. (As he said, he doesn't do that often.) I wondered if I would make the effort to read it were it not for my daughter.... Maybe with the Jon Stewart endorsement, I would. Before seeing this program, I had just put the book on my Amazon wish list for 'later purchase' along with 300 other books. Now, Jon Stewart is reminding me that I need to buy it. And soon!

  6. Back in the "early years"....I seldom (ok...never) read any autism based books for the very reasons you said here.

    It has only been in the last year or so that I have found myself interested/intrigued in cracking the cover of a few books...this being one of them. I'll let you know what I think cause I know you'll be waiting with bated breath for my review. ;P

  7. Read will change the way you see your son...It's not about all the ups and downs of autism...or comparisons to "normality"'s a series of 57 questions and answers, and the emotions tied to those answers....I read the entire book in 40 minutes....It's very short, but pretty mind blowing....different than the others...The boy doesn't compare his feelings and processing to "normal" people, because, as he so eloquently wrote, he can't....what he feels is "his" normal...he doesn't know what we "normal" people experience

  8. "I will put this book down a hundred times when it gets to real. I will be stuck on a paragraph or two for large gaps of time with light bulb moments of "Ohhhhhh that's what my kiddo wanted" and then racked with guilt that I screwed something up by not knowing or doing the right thing. If parental guilt was an Olympic sport, autism parents would take the gold every single time."

    This. I still read it in a day, but I had to put it down and walk away every once in a while because I couldn't handle the guilt. Eventually though, I told myself I'm only human and I make mistakes just like everyone else and now that I'm armed with more information hopefully that will help keep me from making them again.

  9. I am one of the outsider's looking in. I don't have a child with autism, but I do have a friend with a child with autism that I babysat & fell in love with. I watched as my friend struggled to help her son & I wanted to educate my self & help raise awareness, but mainly I just wanted to support & help my friend, & her son. I love your blog & reading your stories ! Your a great mother & I love your perspective! :)