J has Autism

19 02 2008

The fact that J has Autism doesn’t define him but it is part of his make-up.  He’s also a great reader, a handsome fella and the best jumper in his class.  He has Autism.

We can choose to say that it’s a disability or say that he is “differently able.” What we call it won’t change the fact that he has Autism. We can call folks who don’t have Autism “neuro-typical” but, it still doesn’t change the fact that J has Autism… we can argue about what causes it– Environment, Mercury, Heredity… but, that’s not going to change his diagnosis.

We can choose to be a community divided and spend our time fighting about causes or whether or not our children need to be “cured”… but, that’s not going to help our kids.

The nature of Autism makes it impossible to have a standardized way of helping these kids (some people object to the word “treatment”). It’s a spectrum. So, our time– the time of those who love and know these children the most– needs to be spent helping them function as contributing members of society, independent, confident and happy adults. I don’t know if he needs to be cured or if he just needs to learn to overcome his challenges.

What I do know is that I’m not going to live forever and it’s my job to prepare him for life after me. If he’s going to need a schedule in order to stay grounded– it’s my job to teach him how to use a calendar, a clock and a note pad. If he is always going to eat white food– it’s my job to teach him how to order off the menu. Hitting is not ok. Tom and Jerry are not real. It is important to brush your teeth and you can’t leave the house in your pajamas. That’s my job…

I feel strongly that better treatments need to be found, a cause needs to be identified beyond shadow of a doubt and if there can be a magic pill that causes his world make sense it needs to be developed. But, I’m not a Doctor, Scientists or Therapist so, it’s not up to me… I can write letters and bug politicians. I can donate to research. But, I’m not going to spend my time speculating about causes and cures when my son needs that time for himself.

So, I’ll say it out loud:  J has Autism. 
He isn’t my “cause”– he’s my son.



3 responses

19 02 2008

Made me cry. Good for you. In the long run, finding out all the causality in the world doesn’t change the fact. You’re a good mom. 🙂

19 02 2008

Yea! I can totally relate. Sometimes I wonder if I am simply in denial – and perhaps I am in some small way – but the fact of the matter is… I have a job to do in raising my son and by golly I better get crackin’ and get it done. Not that I am not interested in helping society figure out the causes, cures, etc etc etc, but I can’t spend all my time spinning around debating the unknown, the unproven, the unseen… My son is in front of me and I’d better start clearing the way for him!!!!

19 02 2008

You and me both dearie.
Best wishes

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