Going around the internet reading different autism blog posts, I have learned that the online autism community doesn’t necessarily agree (to put it mildly) on lots of things like vaccines, diets, genetics, therapies, the color socks your kid should wear, (just kidding, seeing if you were paying attention) etc. There are so many different opinions going around. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so in my opinion we shouldn’t attack anyone for what they believe is best for their child and themselves. There is one thing that I’ve seen people get criticized for many times, and that is “grieving autism.” I’ve read people’s comments that basically say, if you grieve the fact that your child has autism, then you must not love your child. You don’t love them for who they are, and you want to change them. This really hurt me when I was going through the grieving process during the early stages of my son’s autism. I felt horrible and guilty for having these feelings. Of course I love my child and I don’t want to change who he is, but I think it is only human to grieve something that affects your family’s life so deeply.
Before autism, I had no idea what OT, PT, ST, ASD, IEP, or ABA, stood for. I had never set foot in a neurologists or psychiatrist’s office, had no idea what a gluten/casein free diet was, and had never heard of Temple Grandin. I didn’t understand kids that were “picky eaters” and had no idea what “sensory seeking” meant. I thought I was in control of my life and that everything had to be a certain way. I had never experienced real pain, sadness, or depression. I had never felt what it was like to love someone so much, that you would sacrifice everything to take away their pain. I had no idea what patience and strength REALLY meant. I didn’t know what it was like to appreciate the littlest things and to celebrate the smallest victories. I never had the experience of being so proud of someone simply for just being who they are. My son has taught me countless things. He amazes me everyday. Do I wish I could make life easier for him? Do I wish he had friends and got invited to do things with other kids? Do I wish he could run and play outside in the afternoons instead of going through multiple therapy sessions? Do I wish I could take away his pain and frustrations? Do I constantly worry about the future? YES, I do. But, what he has taught me the most about is unconditional love. Yes, I did grieve and some days I still struggle, but so what? I'm doing the best I can – and thats all you can do.