I was struck by an odd comment this morning. It was made by someone who though we do not speak on a daily basis nor do we “hang” with the wee ones occasionally, but still someone who knows myself and our family. It went down with cordial morning greetings how’s yours/how’s mine common questions. Somehow along the path of playing nice nice, said person uttered words that literally stopped me in my tracks and I fought my ability to wear my feelings all over my face. And if you really know me, you know how hard this was.
It didn’t last long.
“I never thought Tuck was Autistic. He doesn’t “act or look” Autistic. I can’t believe you even got a diagnosis.“
You can not be real life and keep a straight face when you are suddenly hit with these words. Let me explain why.
No my son does in fact NOT look Autistic. He looks like me. The way he acts is in fact a result of the intense therapy he began around the age of 17 months. You see a hyper active smiling happy go lucky about life kid who falls in love with everyone he meets and never shuts up. You see a child who knows no definition of discrimination nor may never see the use for judgement onto others. You see what years of tears, stress and constant “atta boys” can do. You see a little one whom we have sat with night after night until our rears were numb doing our “homework” so he could move on to the next set in his daily therapy.
Autism doesn’t have a “look.” It shows no boundaries on who it chooses. Autism not only effects a child but everyone who is in the child’s life. And after years of work and worry I can say I never ever never never raised him to feel different. I raised him as any other child. No excuses.
Just because somewhere in a filing cabinet in Oklahoma City a sheet of paper has his name on it and beside it says, “Diagnosis -High Functioning Autism” does not mean THAT defines who he is.
In my personal journey through this, I of course had a completely different idea of how this parenting gig was going to go. Somewhere amongst the clouds and fate or what ever your beliefs may be, a different path was chosen for us.
And let me be clear. I would not have it any other way.
And I know I can vouch for Tuck. Neither would he.