You simply have two choices when it comes to living with Autism. You can give up, bury your head in the sand and let it completely break you. That’s the easy option. Or you can fight. Fight with all the emotional power you possess. Fight from the depths of your heart to make the world an easier place for your child to live in. Truthfully, many times I’ve wanted to take the easy option. Just sit back and pretend everything is ok, sit back and just feel sorry for myself and my child, but those thoughts have luckily been very far and few between in our journey. I have always chose the second option. Fight! Fight! Fight! I have always told myself, I will not let Autism get the better of me. I will not let it break me. I have always embraced it with open arms and ensured the best life as is possible for my daughter.
When she was a toddler I received the earth shattering news that my daughter had autism. Like any parent, I went through a Variety of emotions. I was hurt, I kept on thinking what would her life be like? I was scared, how would we all cope? I was angry, why us? I felt guilty, was her condition somehow my fault? It took years for me to push all these thoughts to the back of my mind. As a parent of an autistic child, one thing I must stress to any of you out there going through this journey, the one key fact, that you must always remember is IT IS NOT MY FAULT. My daughter has autism, it’s nobody’s fault. It’s just the way it was meant to be.
Today’s been a funny day. We have had moments of joy & laughter but as is always the case, we have also had plenty of meltdowns and an abundance of tears.
She’s 18 years old, a beautiful young lady, realistically however, she is about two or three years old. Most of the time I don’t know when a meltdown will occur. It can be all calm one minute and in a split second all hell can break loose.
I have to watch as she loses total control over her emotions, watch her lash out and cry & scream, I feel like I’m a useless mother. I can’t comfort my child until the moment as passed. It may last 5 minutes or 40. When it’s passed, I take her in my arms and comfort and rock her like a baby.
This is autism!! We live with a ticking time bomb, day in and day out. We never really know what will trigger a meltdown. Somedays I can sense them coming, more often than not however, it comes like a bolt from the blue. It knocks the wind out of me. No matter how many times I deal with them or how times we experience them, they still hurt and break my heart. I just wish she could tell me what was going on in that head of hers. I just want to make that pain go away. However, the meltdown happens and we deal with it. This is made easier by the bond of unconditional love we share as a family. That’s the rule in our house. It doesn’t matter how bad or good the day was, we still all say a prayer together before we head up to bed. We’re blessed with the gift of a very special child.
The journey might be a tough one, but we wouldn’t ever be without her. She’s brought true joy to my life. She’s my right arm. As I write this, she’s watching Sooty & Sweep on the television. This is her latest obsession. I watch her giggling to herself and rolling around on my bed. Seeing her so happy brings a huge smile to my face. I remember watching it as a child and here I am watching it with my 18 year old. I’ll be shopping online for their DVDs tomorrow.
She’s an adult by law but mentally she’s a child. She’s always going to remain my little girl. She’s always going to need her mum. Autism won’t ever allow her to be free. I’ve often wondered what she would be like without the autism but I know that’s a question that can never be answered. We have good days and we have bad days. When we go out We get pointed at and stared at. There was a time it used to really bother me but now I don’t bat an eye lid. You see, my daughter is my world, so if society feels uncomfortable with her flapping, her rocking, the sounds that she makes well, tough luck for them. I will not hide my daughter away so society can feel comfortable. It’s the community that needs to change and accept. I’m not ashamed. This is her autism, it’s part of her but it’s not everything. My beautiful daughter is so much more than just an autistic child.She has feelings too, she smiles, she laughs and she can sense your stares just like I can. However we both choose to ignore them, simply because I need to make sure my daughter is ok rather then wonder what your thinking.
So she has autism? She still had every right to be treated the same as anybody else. She deserves the same level of respect and acceptance as any other child. I won’t hide my daughter away. I’m extremely proud of her. She has endured more challenges in her 18 years then some people will ever experience in a whole lifetime.
My daughter won’t ever stare at you, be rude to you. She won’t laugh at you or be nasty to you, so I can simply implore the community not to do it to her. The next time you see a child or young adult having any kind of moment rather then stop & stare perhaps you could say a little prayer that this child can overcome these moments and smile again.
My daughter is my world, I will move every mountain for her. I am her voice, her ears, her eyes. I will fight every corner of the world for her. You can help by raising awareness & acceptance of all children living with autism. Together as a community we can change the lives of so many families, just by smiling at them in their moment of madness.
Help change lives by talking to your children and helping them to understand autism. Together we can all make a huge difference to these special children. Autism awareness is the key to make this happen.