It's said so quickly to me. It's meant to calm my nerves but it just manages to do the opposite. I know the person saying it means well but to me it's a dismissive sentence. It makes me question my own thoughts and invalidates my feelings and experiences.
Here's the thing. It doesn't makes the autism go away. It does not give a solution to what a parent clearly sees as a problem. My child is struggling. I want to help him. Please don't tell me not to worry about it. That I should just shake it off or be glad it seems that my kid is doing something "normal". As if I should be congratulated that he is doing something typical.
Yes, he does do a lot of typical things that most ten year old boys enjoy doing. Riding his bike all over. Belly flopping into our pool daily and swimming so long each day I'm convinced he's grown gills. Eating his body weight in french fries and hot dogs. Singing along to songs his likes on the radio. All activities that for a few moments I can sigh and relax a bit. Happy he is happy.
But that above mentioned love of hot dogs only came after hours and hours of feeding therapy. No, he's not just a "picky eater". He would have, in fact, chosen not to eat at all. He wouldn't of just broken down and finally eaten when he was hungry.
That bike riding came after a consult with an OT and PT. The singing? So many sessions with a music therapist that insurance will not cover because they do not recognize it as necessary. Even swimming only came after calling around to several different places to track down the one swim instructor that actually had experience with special needs kids. Even then that was dicey as she didn't realize the havoc she caused when she suddenly canceled sessions twice with little warning.
Do you have to sedate your child just to get his teeth cleaned by a dentist because he's now too big to be held down by three adults to get an exam? Are you in an absolute panic every morning as you put your kid on the bus because you just don't know how the day will go and when the next phone call from the school will come? Do you have no play dates for your kid because although his typical classmates are kind to him, they do not call looking for him?
Do you sometimes post their milestones on social media and wonder "Will the folks I'm friends with even get why this is a big deal?" Then you cry when you see that they do.
I know you want me not to worry. I know you want me to realize that he isn't as different as any other kid his age. I know he is "Different, no less". Here's the thing. I've said the exact say sentence to other moms about their neurotypical kids. Joyfully chiming in that "Hey, my kid does that too!". I've seen a few of them do double takes when I have said it. I've seen a few sudden flashes of panic across their faces that I just said a behavior is very much like something my autistic kiddo has done.
So if the phrase doesn't always sit well with them, why should it sit well with me? If you want me to relax about it, then they have to take a chill pill about it too. Unless this is about your kid keeping all the potato farmers in Idaho financially sound, because my kiddo does that too. :-)