Acceptance means Acceptance

Acceptance means Acceptance


Autism Speaks and other groups have advertised April as Autism Awareness month. I think it is great to try to rally people up and try to make sure everyone in the community is aware of autism.

Recently Life on The Spectrum went out and poled people to ask them what they know about autism. The results were pretty bleak. And even if the goal is to make people aware of Autism what are we making them aware of exactly? That Autism exists? That we need more services? That there is an epidemic? That we need a cure? That parents hate autism?

I tried, I really did try to understand why some parents would say that they “hate autism”. I even became sympathetic for a parent because of the issues she was facing. I left a comment on her blog and then she messaged me telling me I was a clueless idiot. I suppose I tried to fit in with the other parents and that will never be. I suppose I tried to even understand their point of view. I tried to ask questions and I thought that if they have children who are autistic they might understand that I need help communicating. That I might need help understanding something. That they would understand I might be sensitive. Most parents were nice but I also got some very nasty parents calling me some very nasty names. It felt like grade school again and it almost made me give up my blog.

Let me side track a bit since I was recently told by an NT that since I was so late in being diagnosed I don’t really understand what it is like. As a parent I have had many moments of struggling and despair. My son has had issues his whole life too. The preschool thought he was mute. He smeared his poop for years and had major meltdowns and still sometimes does. He and I both struggle with communication. I had a meltdown related to the nasty names I was called by NT parents. Just because I blend in enough to hold down a job does not mean that I don’t understand what Autism really means. I struggle day in and day out, it isn’t that I just became autistic, it is that I just recently have a name for my struggles.

I think most NT parents want the best for their child. As a parent we always want is best for our child. We don’t like to feel helpless when we see them suffering. But as an autistic I understand that what an NT sees as suffering, may not be suffering to the autistic. I know not all parents are ready to hear that. But it needs to be said. Stop mourning for what you want your child to be. Let them be the child they want to be. Accept them. Help them be their “best, Autistic, self. This is no different (speaking in my parental role) from helping any child learn and grow to be the best person possible. This is no different (speaking as an Autistic adult and former Autistic child) from learning at a pace that is both challenging and not way outside the “envelope” of what works for you.”

I took that last quote right from the Autism Acceptance blog because it is so perfectly well said. They have claimed April back as Autism Acceptance month because we need much more awareness. Please see my recent Blogging and YouTube Journey through Acceptance if you would like to see some other wonderful posts about the topic.

I am done trying to fit in with other people. I am here to be myself. Yes I will try to communicate appropriately but when people are angry and saying hateful things I will do exactly as I tell my son to do. Walk away when you know that you will just become upset. It isn’t worth it. Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth.

Yesterday I posted that I was trying to understand and was willing to cheer on other parents even when they are angry, I take it back. I can’t cheer you on when you are spewing hate and calling me clueless. Acceptance of Autism means that you accept me as a human being with thoughts, feelings, and a valid opinion.

I am not trying to “bully” you into feeling a certain way. You are entitled to feel how you feel. I tell my son all the time that he is entitled to feel angry, everyone feels anger, it is what you do with that anger that defines you as a person. If you choose to spew anger and hate on your blog that is your choice. If you choose to deny that you are putting that hate into the community because your blog is somehow your personal, private space I can’t begin to have a logical conversation with you. (In case that is confusing to you- this is the internet, everyone, your neighbor, your kid’s doctor, teacher, friend, the guy at the grocery store that you can’t understand why they don’t accept your child, could be reading your hate of autism) Maybe instead you should explain your frustrations and what you are doing to deal with them so that maybe it would be helpful to other parents or other people in the community who are reading your blog on the internet.

I can only hope to reach people that are willing to listen and to understand. I will continue to post how I love myself and my son. I will continue to post what struggles we have and what we have done to help ease our struggles. I will continue to post about how we must have acceptance, not just awareness.

The past week has been very emotionally trying for me. My husband has been a saint with being understanding of me. That is what we need acceptance and understanding. I can’t always blend in. I can’t always act “normal”. It is unfortunate that is what society sometimes expects.

When I saw a little boy at the store yesterday with headphones on I got excited and started pointing to him and telling my husband “look it is a younger version of Sheldon”. I immediately realized this was not polite and could have been misinterpreted. I ran up to the mom and explained that I pointed because he reminded me of my son. She looked at me puzzled and asked why? I blurted out “headphones”, the child couldn’t make eye contact with me and of course I knew. The mom then explained he was autistic and the headphones were to block out the noise. I blurted out “I know”. I was not in a good place and was not doing my best at communicating but I needed to tell her. The mom (God bless her for being patient with me) said “You knew he was autistic?” I said “Yes, my son has Aspergers, so do I”. She then understood and introduced me to both of her autistic kids. I waved and ran away.

Acceptance is letting her son where his headphones in the store and not caring if people point and explaining them to some stranger that runs up to her babbling about the headphones. Acceptance is understanding that my son needed to put his head down in class to get away from the other kids. Acceptance is understanding I may not always say the right things. Acceptance is letting me be me. Acceptance is understanding we don’t like noisy, loud, crowded places. Acceptance is understanding we don’t feel as though we are missing out on anything when we avoid these situations. Acceptance is listening when we say we are happy being us and that our happiness is not measured by the same standards as yours.

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Comments

  1. Oh my heart. I’m sad to hear that anyone could call you clueless.

    As a mum of two kids on the spectrum it is the blogs of adults with ASD that are my guiding light. Thank you for keeping blogging, thank you for being you.

  2. extremeparenthood says:

    I could not agree more with Marita. When I am struggling to understand something my sons are doing the FIRST people I ask for advice are my self-advocate friends.

    THANK YOU!!

  3. I’m so saddened that you were called names. I know I have autistic traits and I know why I have two children with ASD; I can see it running through my family. I once tried to explain to someone the issues I have; I suffer from a lot of white noise when I get overloaded but I was putdown by another adult who ironically was working in the autism field. I struggle to get anyone to understand that even my mild traits are exhausting for me. Still having this insight helps me to help my children; unfortunately many don’t see what I see and often challenge my views. I agree with what you say about acceptance; awarness isn’t enough for me and my family any more. For us it is also about accepting that my family have to do things that are different to the ‘norm’ and that this is equally valid.

  4. Renee | About a Bugg says:

    What a beautiful post – thank you for writing it and thank you to Marita for sharing it. My daughter wears headphones too and I often look out for other kids with them on and give the mum a knowing smile.

    I only hope that she grows to be as self aware as you. And as for the others… well… screw them. Thank you for sharing your story. Please don’t stop.

  5. karenaspergersmom says:

    It’s been kind of a crazy roller-coaster week in the autism world. If we want our children to be understood and accepted, we have to be willing to do the same in our own lives. I have all kinds of friends, republicans, democrats, autistic, typical, black, white, asian, hispanic. I accept all people and all points of view, even though my point of view may be different.

    Don’t let anyone scare you away. You have a unique point of view that I for one enjoy reading about. Hugs to you and Sheldon!

  6. I have so many thoughts zinging around in my head, it is difficult to choose a single one. Soooo… I’ll pick the most concrete one! 🙂

    You wrote, “When I saw a little boy at the store yesterday with headphones on I got excited and started pointing to him and telling my husband “look it is a younger version of Sheldon”.”

    Ha! High five! I am thrilled to see mini-aspies at large! Once when am mother in line confessed thet her son had autism, I answered her with a “Really! How cool!” It is the best kind of acceptance, that she smiled back, despite her surprise.

    When I am at a store with T and he has on the big earphones, every now and then some one will give me the “knowing” smile–not a pity smile, but a “Yep! Us too!” smile.

    I’m rambling and excited about my new feelings over awareness month. I feel like the little jackpot buttons lit up when I read your post. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  7. I’m sorry you have had such hurtful things said to you. 🙂 One of the things us parents need to learn is in order to have people accept our children we must first accept others and listen. If you don’t listen and write someone off as “clueless” you never know what you are missing.

  8. This is my first visit to your blog – thanks to social media and all the postings about World Autism Awareness Day I found you. This post is so well written – thank you for writing it and sharing it. Don’t let the haters get to you. What you have to say is so important to so many people.

  9. sillyangel says:

    I have seen the situation you are speaking about… it made me sad to see the woman talk that way about her boy. I pray that he gets the help he needs to not hurt his momma any more! I pray her eyes get opened to the valid point you have raised. I am realizing why I am how I am this month turning 31 on the 14th. Never knew why I have had the struggles I have until now. Even with all the testing they did when I was in school. Now I am working on accepting myself and my boys differences. It isn’t easy somedays, as I expect the same things from them that were expected of me. Sadly I should know better… I never mastered being ‘normal ‘ and fitting in. I am going to help them except themselves and work with what they got 🙂 we can learn it together!

  10. sillyangel says:

    Accept lol not except my goodness

  11. I’m so sorry – you’ve always been kind and very supportive of us as parents, and of our kids on the spectrum. As far as I’m concerned, you absolutely know what you’re talking about – as it relates to yourself and to your son. Hang in there!!

  12. I like how you’ve give YOUR side of everything. But that’s ok. You do that. You get your support YOUR way.. and i’ll get my support MY way.

  13. Someone put it this way: hate cannot be contained. It’s messy. It spatters everywhere. And you got some spattered on you by someone else.

    Sweetie, I’m so sorry you’ve been maltreated. I wish you peace and strength.

  14. I’m new here, so I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m looking forward to reading more about you. Hope all is peaceful.

  15. quirkyandlaughing says:

    Much of this post riled me up. I don’t know what it is about me, but no matter how old I get, I just can’t cope when people are nasty to me. I wholeheartedly agree with your position on acceptance, and I believe this is what autism awareness is about.

    I do feel for the parents who have children that are severely autistic. I can totally understand why they would hate it that their children are so chronically uncomfortable, and I see how they could make sweeping statements without realizing the identity of their children will likely always be intertwined with autism. I would like to see the discomfort cured, and I’m glad they’re fighting for it. But I’d like the see the language toned down. Discomfort is only a part of autism. Much of autism is quite beautiful.

  16. Your words are profound & encouraging.

  17. Stacy Carpenter says:

    I am so sorry that ignorant people caused you to consider not writing anymore. Please don’t stop! You’re writing is wonderful.

  18. Wonderful post, thank you!

  19. You mentioned about how you approached someone with a child on the spectrum. As an aspie working in a supermarket (very ironic), I see plenty of people on the spectrum all the time when I’m at work. Anytime I see them, I give their parent’s a card saying that I have Asperger’s. Afterwards, I let them know that if anyone stares at them or makes them uncomfortable, they need to let me know about it. I have no tolerance for that sort of stuff when I’m at work. And honestly, I don’t give a shit about if the bully’s a customer of the store. I could care less about that. If anything, I’d rather not have customers who are that short-sighted and judgmental. Let them pieces of shit go to other stores. I don’t want to deal with them. Luckily for me, since the managers of the store found out that I was an aspie recently (they were fooled like many other people before them and many more after them that I was neurotypical), they’ve done all they could to help me out.

    As far as the hateful people who spew nonsense are concerned, fuck them. Pay them no mind as you’ve mentioned in your blog. If you have to, go off on them just so they get the message. If they want to get huffy with you, two can play at that game. Honestly, I wish people would just keep to themselves and not be judgmental of everything. It’s one of the huge problems of our society dominated by neurotypicals. If people just didn’t get into other people’s business like they do now, this world would be a much better place.

  20. Shelley says:

    What a great post, thank you for helping me with something. My daughter is going through diagnosis for an asd possibly aspergers. I have had times when i have felt sad and like you said mauned the little girl she’ll never be. But reading your post has bought me realisation that i should celebrate the wonderful little girl that she IS. i’m still learning about what life is like from her perspective and by reading things like those I’m learning to accept who she IS and allow her to just be. Thank you 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] Stuart Duncan writes on his blog, Autism from a Father’s Point of View, often about acceptance. The fact that he has recently been diagnosed on the spectrum adds even more weight to his reasoned and thoughtful posts. The Aspie Side of Life did a wonderful post, Acceptance is Acceptance. […]

  2. […] to think that is because I am high-functioning- don’t please just go read my previous post on acceptance.  Let’s look at my son since he is professionally diagnosed and has more recently had severe […]

  3. […] to think that is because I am high-functioning- don’t please just go read my previous post on acceptance. Let’s look at my son since he is professionally diagnosed and has more recently had severe […]

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