How do I even begin, what does autism look like? It can look very different in my house, you see I have 2 kids with autism. They both look so different but the same in so many ways. A day with autism has its ups and downs, but some things are the same. The schedules that give my son his security and ease his anxiety. The rewards and instant gratifications for small things done, things that may seem trivial to some but huge to us. Autism is the rigidity of how things go, the talking about the same thing over and over. The going to multiple stores looking for the only Dino nuggets my son will eat. It's blowing bubbles in his sensory room, and laughing when he swings. It's meltdowns when something isn't how it's supposed to be, it's anger when his order is disrupted. It’s trying to step into his world and be what he needs, comforting him and making him feel secure. It's him chewing on every shirt and then the wet spot making him upset because now he needs to change.It's weighted blankets that help keep him calm and watching him find the smallest space he can squeeze into to feel secure. It is trying to understand them. Trying to help in any way I can. It's going into their world, and not always expecting them to conform to my ways.
It is my daughter who's a teen now, still learning how to read people and live in a world that's confusing to her at times. It is her going into her own world and getting lost in it, it is her rigidity around her areas of interest. It is her beautiful smile, the kindness she has for others, her empathy, and genuine concern for all things, people and animals. It is watching her draw , and the pride she takes in it. It's her using her own voice to get what she needs. It is the progress she has made in school. It's the independence she has gained. It's her walking to each class independently, it's her riding a big bus for the first time this year, it's her remembering to wear her choir shirt on a certain day. It's also the hard days, the meltdowns, it's the girl who can become stressed and overwhelmed over small things. It's anxiety, it's her crying and worrying, it's telling me she can't understand people. It's her trying too hard to please everyone. It is rigidity and obsession. It's talking about one thing over and over. It's her drawing 8 hours a day and refusing to do anything else. It's me worrying about her adult years. It is watching her sing a solo for choir beautifully when a few years ago she could hardly go to music class. It's listening to her talk about going to college. It's never giving up, it's always striving for me, it's watching her surpass all expectations they had for her when she was diagnosed at age 7.It is ups and downs, highs and lows. It is her becoming an amazing young woman, and not letting her autism define her. It is watching her become her biggest advocate. It is watching her shine.
My children are both unique and amazing. They both have autism, they look different and that's why it's called a spectrum. It's a beautiful spectrum full of highs and lows , and it's what makes each individual unique. I'm proud to be their mom, I couldn't ask for better kids. Autism is not our whole life, it's a part of it and we embrace it for what it is and what it brings to our home. Autism is just a piece of our puzzle. I'm thankful for what it has taught me, what it has shown me about love. We are blessed!