Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Road to Acceptance

A friend, another autism mom, asked me recently when did I finally accept Morgan as autistic? Where did my acceptance of autism begin? This was in a chat, so my friend could not see my grimace or hear my chuckle.

The truth is, though I write about, preach, and fully believe in autism acceptance, there are some days that I wish that I could wish it away. Not Morgan, but some of his autism. Even though I say I cannot separate the two, sometimes I wish I could.

Like most parents who see their children struggle, or who have been through the wringer, I wouldn't wish that kind of emotional turmoil on anyone. I wouldn't wish for any person to have SIBs, to feel alone or different, or be told by society that he's wrong for how he's made.

However, this is how my son is made. And, frankly, I think society is wrong, not my son.

That being said, I accepted autism and accepted Morgan as autistic because there was no changing him anymore than there would be to change his laugh or his eye color. It took me a long time to get here and there are times when I am still not sure how solid the acceptance floor is underneath my feet.

Acceptance just seemed easier than fighting it, I told her. Morgan is Morgan and that is perfectly fine. I don't want to fix him; I want him to thrive, however that may be. At it's core, there should be nothing wrong with being autistic. It just is. 

To me, as an autism parent, acceptance is loving your autistic child so unconditionally that you don't want to change them, you just want to help them be the best "autistic them" they can be so that they can thrive. And also, so that you can thrive as their parent. If you're fighting against something as if it were a war, how is it helping your child?

I've been told, at times, that I speak from a position of privilege because my child isn't like other autistic children. My child isn't nonverbal. He is in an inclusion class with supports. He interacts in his own way with people. People don't see his autism at all times, at least, not right away. To that, I say check your own privilege. I speak as a mom who has been on both sides and has been scared as hell that her son would never speak, write, or interact- among other things. And I also know that none of these things are important qualifiers for acceptance of your child.

There are other parents out there like me, I know, who waver in their positions on acceptance. Who, on the roughest days, want to wish autism away, even though we know we can't and we know that it would be wrong to want to change the very wiring of our children. We know that we only wish for it to allow our children an easier life.

As humans and as parents, we're fallible and are going to miss a few steps along the road to acceptance. I think that's natural. Accepting my son as autistic means that I accept his quirks, stims, learning disorders, and I try to work with all of them. I don't fight any of them. Well, I try not to. I'm human and, as I stated, I make mistakes.

While I struggle with acceptance in all its forms, I don't struggle with accepting Morgan as an autistic person. However, I do struggle when I see him struggle. That's what I want to fix- his struggles.

How about you with your child?

1 comment :

  1. Yes, yes, yes. When my boy struggles, that's when it is hard to embrace autism as a part of who he is. I've come a long way on my acceptance journey - some days I feel like I've still got such a long way to go. But it's gotten easier than in those first days.