A beneficial hodgepodge

Excerpts from an e-mail conversation with Autisticook, an autistic adult reader of my blog, after the holidays, when I noticed I was doing a lot of re-blogging (really good stuff, it’s true), but not a lot of blogging:
ME:  “Sometimes I feel like I’m being “lazy” because I’m not “a Diary of a Mom” (LOVE HER) and sharing my/our experiences consistently. I’m pulling the awesome of others into one spot – things that move me that I think/hope would be useful for others.  Also, my son’s experience of autism (at this time, anyway) doesn’t have the ups and downs and ah-ha moments that seem “record-worthy”.”

AUTISTICOOK: “Yours is the ONLY blog I know that combines autistic voices with parents’ voices, because everyone necessarily writes from their own perspective, but that also means there’s always a dearth of different perspectives in those places, except in the comments sometimes. So the way that you’re doing it means there’s a very large spread of ideas and thoughts on autism. It’s very valuable.”

The feeling of the weight off my shoulders and the warm-fuzzies I got from the response from my reader were wonderful!

*****************

The holidays have been crazy – travel cross-country with my DS to visit my frail father who is almost 90. He expects this winter to be his last, as his health has been steadily declining for the last 10 years. It was a good vacation, and some wonderful grandad/family memories were created during the trip, but it was also long and tiring and still feel I’m not back in the swing of things. I still feel tired from the travel, my house isn’t as straightend as I’d like it to be, my garage isn’t as uncluttered as I’d like it to be, and my blogging isn’t as frequent as I’d like it to be.

I read several blogs. They’re pretty evenly split between autistic adults and parents of autistic children – and I think there is at least one that’s an autistic parent OF an autistic child. My Favorite facebook pages are Karla’s ASD page, Autism Discussion Group, Mama Be Good, Parenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance – again, split between autistic adults/parents and non-autistic caregivers/counselors. One theme that carries through ALL of the sources that I read is that there MUST be respect of all concerned, most especially the autistic adults.

I read the parent blogs to find support, reassurance, and other parents who have been-there/done-that. Thanks to finding A Diary of a Mom’s blog, one thing I learned early on is that reading ONLY parent blogs does a disservice to me and to my son. Reading blogs by autistic people is NECESSARY, in my opinion. WHY? Because I am NOT autistic. My brain doesn’t work 100% like my son’s. I don’t experience the world the way he does (yes, we all experience the world differently, but autism is a whole new experiential ballgame). I need their autistic insights so I can fight for and with him for what he needs as he makes his way in the neurotypical world.

Another big reason I read autistic adult blogs is I know my son WILL change and will not be the same person with the same skill-sets, roadblocks, etc. that he is now.  He will NOT be a child forever. He WILL go through adolescence. He WILL grow up to be an autistic adult. This is a message I have read many times from many adults on the spectrum, which some parents of autistic children don’t see/don’t really understand (or accept) deep down because they DON’T read autistic adult blogs – or if they do, they discount the autistic adult experiences  (I’ve read this myself) because they are “not like my child“.  Things are so hard in these parent’s lives RIGHT NOW that it seems it will never change. But by discounting the experiences of adult autistics simply based on the fact that they can communicate NOW, these parents are missing out on a ton of information, resources, and support that they will not find anywhere else. Some of these autistic adults WERE NOT VERBAL when they were children – they are now. (TEMPLE GRANDIN was not verbal when she was a child, for goodness sake.) Some of these adults do not speak, but they understand and communicate – which we must NEVER FORGET – presuming competence harms no one and helps everyone, and is a defense against future regret (special attention to 6:05 and after).

No one knows everything. Everything changes. Learning unlocks doors. This is why I blog the way I do. This is why I share what I share. I don’t have answers; mostly I just have questions. I assume that other parents of autistic children might have the same questions, so I share the answers I find. I assume that autistic adults have answers I am looking for, and I share their information so others will be helped by them. I assume that autistic adults might want to know that there are NT parents/people who are LISTENING to them, so I put my words out for them as well.

I know, generally, that when you ASSUME, you can “make an A$$ out of U and ME” (LOL), but I’m hoping at least in my blogging that this isn’t the case 😉

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