Being a mom of a son with Autism is a job title that varies from mother – to- mother, and child- to child. A huge blanket of Autism covers an entire world of complex disability. I even struggle from day to day to get a grasp on my own child’s symptoms and behaviors, let alone understand any others. My Job is to be patient, empathetic and understanding. It requires tolerance for annoying noises, and hours of thunderous pacing. I listen to hours and hours of fast paced jumbled talking about obscure and nonsensical topics.
I stay up late nights, trying to talk my son down from panic attacks based on ridiculous things, like his eardrums falling out of his head. I walk on eggshells, as to not offend him, because unlike a normal child, he can’t interpret social sarcasm, joking, or playfulness.
I do my job, without the physical rewards most mothers enjoy: kisses and hugs, or the feeling of a little hand inside your own. Physical contact is awkward at best, and often an uncomfortable experience for my son. Something as simple as a congratulatory pat on the back is met with the screaming response of ouch!! Why are you hitting me? My rewards are a little more obscure: an off-beat compliment, or occasional eye contact, but when a rare hug is offered- it brings tears to my eyes and I don’t want to let go.
Children of disability are often referred to as “special” and I know why. I am so blessed to have such a personality in my life. The interesting conversations and uncontrollable laughs he has given me wouldn’t be possible if he thought like everyone else thinks. His dulled senses of social behavior and emotion have blessed me with a teenager who rarely talks back or blows up, and is practically incapable of lying. Autism hasn’t taken my son from me, it has made him who he is- unique, interesting and of course… special.
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