Disclaimer: When I say you, I’m referring to the figurative you and not anyone in particular. So please don’t take it that way because it’s not meant to be taken in that manner.
There are some truly awesome days that I have the absolute pleasure of experiencing as an Autism Parent. These are the days that most people want to hear about. There’s this sort of unwritten rule that an Autism parent has to be positive, all the time.
Any objective person could read through everything that I’ve written over the years and say that while there is indeed a great deal of negative, I do try to remain positive.
When it comes to Autism Awareness and helping family, friends, teachers, the online community or just society as a whole, better understand what life is like for a parent raising a child on the Autism Spectrum, does anyone even want to know the truth?
Over the years it has seemed like people only want to know the fluffy, smells like puppy breath side of Autism parenting and if you deviate from that, you’re being too negative.
I can’t tell you how many times people how told me that I’m too negative.
Here’s the thing. Do you want the truth or do you want to hear what makes you feel more comfortable about my life?
When I see things like this happen or even experience it first hand, I know that’s it’s less to do with me being negative and more to do with society not being able to handle the truth. I know that sounds totally cliché but think about it.
Unless you are living in the same house, day in and day out, helping me raise my three boys with Autism, how can you or anyone else, possibly even pretend to know what I go through? How can anyone honestly say that I’m being too negative when they aren’t having to deal with the same things I am?
This doesn’t just apply to me or my life. It happens every day, to so many Autism parents across the globe.
Here’s the truth about Autism Parenting.
Autism parenting can be an absolutely amazing experience. I’ve personally found that it can be extremely rewarding. The key word here is can. It can be rewarding. It can be amazing.
Can doesn’t always translate to is.
The unpleasant reality is that sometimes Autism parenting sucks. I mean it sucks so badly that I just want to run away screaming. It can suck so badly that I will question whether or not I have the strength or courage to drag myself back to my feet and keep fighting.
The unpleasant reality is that sometimes, Autism parenting is an absolute nightmare and one that you can’t wake up from because it’s not just a bad dream, it’s your life.
Here’s another truth that you probably won’t be comfortable with.. Most of previous two paragraphs are sugar coated because no matter how badly I want you to understand, I also don’t want to overwhelm you with my life. So tell me again, how I’m being too negative.
I love my kids more than anything in the world. We absolutely have some amazing days and we build memories that I will cherish forever. There are days that go so well that it fills me with a sense of hope for the future but many times, this is the exception to the rule.
That’s not me being negative either. That’s me being brutally honest about a situation that so many parents, like myself, live through on a daily basis.
Speaking about ones life as an Autism parent, in a realistic and truthful manner, isn’t always going to be the kind of feel good story that gives you goose bumps when you read it.
The thing about Autism parenting is that everyone’s experience is different. Everyone’s story is going to be different. Some people will have a much more positive experience and others will be facing challenges that are so difficult, there really isn’t any way to spin it in a positive light.
When it comes to raising awareness for Autism, there can’t be a filter. There can’t be someone saying that you’re too negative or you’re too positive.
Not many people feel comfortable enough to share as openly and transparently as I do.
In order for society to better understand how Autism can impact a family, people need to feel like they can share their story without fear of being ridiculed, judged, harassed or made to feel guilty for their honesty.
Please remember that accusing someone of being too negative about what they’re experiencing is very much invalidating and dehumanizing.
Experience is a very relative thing and because of that, no one should judge, doubt or be overtly critical about something they are not personally experiencing for themselves. This goes for other Autism families as well. Never judge another Autism parent for something, simply because your experience is different. You might find that if you physically had to walk in their shoes for a day, you couldn’t take more than 2 or 3 steps.
Every Autism patenting experience is different because everyone with Autism is different.
Understanding these differences and helping to ensure that people feel safe or comfortable enough to share their story, simply requires you to have an open mind and ounce of compassion. Not everyone in the world can meet those qualifications but if you’re one that does, remember just how much of a positive impact you can have by exercising those gifts… ☺