Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘blogger

I toyed with the idea of joining WordPress’s new Post a Day challenge. I came so close, but then realized a couple of key things that changed my mind.

1) I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly good adequate blog with forced posts. In other words, I didn’t want to throw up a post just because I felt committed to the challenge, as there are days that my head just isn’t in the game. Some days, it’s challenge enough just getting everything done that I have to get done, and the non-essentials sit by the wayside. Blogging, as much as I love it, is still a non-essential. While I’d love it to be more important somehow, it’d have to be more important to others than just me, and unless that happens, I can’t bump it up my personal list.

2) Some days, autism takes a back seat. That’s not to say my son is suddenly cured on some days, but just that I don’t think about autism and its profound effect on our lives every single day. Don’t get me wrong, the “a” word is there each and every day in some regard, but there are days that I just want to call “good days.” I want to just be with my son, just be a ‘normal’ mom and go throughout the day without focusing on autism. I want to do the laundry, make dinner, supervise homework, plan the next day’s events, pray, chat, have a glass of wine, hop on my elliptical and ‘be,’ rather than being a mom with a child with autism. In short, autism doesn’t define my life, and there are other aspects of my life that deserve focus. I have other kids, a husband, a job, hobbies, and that’s all I need.

I’ve been told that on my personal Facebook page, I don’t mention enough about autism. Enough? Who determines what enough is? Honestly, I don’t want to see my Facebook newsfeed and see nothing but autism. I’m going to say it once, quietly, and never again: some people seem to thrive on discussing autism and the attention the hardships bring. Don’t take that wrong — well, it’s not entirely nice, I suppose, but sometimes it seems like when the attention over one issue dies down, there’s something else, an ongoing poor me saga that just drains you, and you don’t even see them on a face-to-face basis, ever. There’s unity in sharing hardships and giving/getting support and sharing resources, and that’s a necessity, but I can’t believe that some people don’t have any good in their lives that they can’t share something other than a newspaper article that’s about an abused autistic child, a comment about some wasted research, or how their school gave more money to the gifted children that week than the special ed program or how their husband didn’t spend 467 minutes supervising therapy with the child as they did. When life stinks, we want to vent and get support, but life stinks in more ways than just autism. If I focus just on autism, I miss out on everything else, and the other things that stink don’t get the attention they need. So, for me, “enough” is as often as I want to post about it. If it’s not enough for someone else, there are a lot of blogs or FB friends out there that you can head to for more autism-related news.

I do have another blog, totally unrelated to autism other than a mention here and there in regards to life with my family and things that occur in our lives. In a general sense. I’m not the best blogger there either, only posting a few days a week. I hope to get more devoted to that blog as well, but my little guy deserves more than the back of my head while I’m at the computer.

Happy New Year’s to everyone! (A day late is better than never, right?)

Recently, a non-internet-user (yes, they still exist!) asked me why I blog. She couldn’t understand why a person would write their personal stories in such a public place for strangers to see. I understood her question, because the way she phrased it was basically the bottom line — my life as it pertains to autism is indeed written out for the world to see. But I’m not sure she understood my response.

To me, writing this blog has been a form of autism awareness. It’s a way to reach out to other parents who may be dealing with similar situations, and to help the world see how profoundly autism can affect a family and a community, even (and pardon the term) “high-functioning autism.”And let’s face, it’s a place to vent at times when there’s no other recourse.

The media so often shows the most severely affected children with autism. So many media pieces are written about the non-verbal and the cognitively affected that there are still people in the general public who are unaware that a child can have autism and speak and not sit rocking in a corner. My blog is a way of sharing that autism can hit anyone, all sexes, all ages, all income levels, all races, anyone. One in 70 boys is now thought to have a form of autism, and 1 in 110 children overall are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Staggering numbers.

When I write, I trust the reader. I assume that people read because they’re interested in autism, and when they read, they remember they’re reading about a sweet, beautiful, extremely intelligent nine-year-old boy with the most gorgeous of eyes, a penchant to hug mom spontaneously and an extreme innocence about the world. Maybe my trust is naive, but I’d like to think that anyone taking the time to read my sometimes very long entries is keeping in mind that they’re reading about a child whose mom loves him like readers love their own children. If someone’s looking for someone to mock, go elsewhere. Don’t believe in my views? That’s fine, that’s your prerogative, but there are debate boards on the internet calling your name. Just like you wouldn’t point at an autistic or otherwise different child in public and laugh at his illness or uncontrollable tics, it’s not okay to do it here.

I’m one of millions of bloggers in the world, people who do so for lots of different reasons. I’m glad my friend asked me why I blog, as it gave me some time to really think about the why and not just the what. I hope to encourage people that autism can improve, and that autistic children are amazing individuals who deserve our love, time, respect and compassion. Autism is just a different way of life, not a bad life. A diagnosis is hard, but they’re still your child and you will rise to the occasion. I wouldn’t ask for an autism diagnosis, but now I’m a better parent than I was before. I’m a more accepting individual and when I hear a crying child in public, I don’t plug my ears and get all haughty about my personal experience being inconvenienced; instead, my instinct is to see if mom needs help and to tell those who are complaining to be quiet and grow some decency. My child is an amazing blessing, and his autism has given this unexplainably unique view on the world that is going to make this world a better place. Autism may be a lifelong condition, but there’s hope and as their primary advocates, we parents owe it to them to never forget that. It’s so uplifting to read the stories on the internet about the strides children and parents are making, and I hope no one ever gives up on sharing it for the masses to read. Together we can show everyone that our kids are worth it.

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