My boy with autism. Or my autistic boy. This is a very important thing.
One is a person first, after all, he is a beautiful boy who just happens to have autism.
The other is an all-encompassing identity worn with pride.
I wish we didn’t have to choose. Can’t it be both? I want both for him.
There is no right answer, but people will tell you otherwise each way you choose.
Maybe someday my boy will tell me his preference.
Just like someday he will answer his dad when he asks him what he did at school that day.
Every day, he is met with silence and a smile. Some day.
A lot of people really want to skip the whole awareness thing and have everyone move right on into acceptance. That sounds ideal to me, but I really don’t see how one can happen without the other.
So, we continue to talk about autism to spread awareness & acceptance.
It does get a little exhausting, I will be honest.
The repetition, the hope, the advocacy on eggshells.
But I get excited, thinking about more people joining in on this awareness + acceptance thing.
I can start to see a world where communication without words is commonplace.
And maybe things like atypical eye contact wouldn’t be a thing, and maybe parents like us wouldn’t hear that word, ATYPICAL, so damn much.
In this world I picture people who understand that sensory processing is so different for everyone. How it can be downright painful for some, and never given a second thought by others.
People would be better about not taking the little things in life for granted, like outings outside of the home that for some, like my boy, require navigating a battlefield of anxiety, sensory input, and communication barriers.
They’d know that nonspeakers still FEEL greatly.
There would be just enough awareness for people to be kind, patient, & accepting of those who move through this world a little differently than most.