Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The fine line

I've been struggling with where to draw the line of autism. By that, I mean how much should I say "he's acting like that because he's autistic" or "he doesn't listen because he's autistic" and how much of that is the reality of having a three year old? It seems that unless you have a vested interest in autism, you don't really know much about it. Someone who doesn't know might think that all autistic kids are unreachable and they sit somewhere, rocking themselves, and no one can communicate with them. I still think of myself as being uneducated and I think that's why I struggle with his behavior.

I don't want to be one of those people who blames all the "bad" behavior on autism. Certain elements may play into it, but not all the time. And I don't want to say "oh, he's autistic" when he's doing something, because the whole world doesn't need to know, and I don't want to paint a bad picture of autism, especially to someone who doesn't need to know, who won't understand, or those who won't see him again. Sometimes I feel that if I explain that he's autistic, they won't believe me because of their preconceived notions of what autism entails, or they'll simply think I'm a bad parent who is reasoning away their child's behavior.

We were at a 4th of July celebration over the weekend. We took Stewie on some of the carnival kiddie rides. There was one he went on alone - the swings. He kept sliding himself forward on the swing, and even caused the ride to be interrupted for a minute so he could be readjusted. I kept calling for him to sit back, but he wouldn't. I wanted to apologize and say that he's autistic, but what good would that have done? The ride operator wouldn't have cared and would probably start thinking all kids who couldn't sit properly on the ride were autistic. Would that have done any good? No, and we are probably never going to see that again, and if we did, it's not like he'll recognize us or Stu.

Stewie also has aggressive behavior, which. from what I've read, is common in autistic children. We are fortunate that he doesn't exhibit this behavior toward other children or people. It's just directed mostly at me, sometimes at his sister, and occasionally at his father. No one at the grocery store needs to know, but I figure the mom's group we do activities with should know. Even with women who I am pretty comfortable with, I still feel alone and unsure of how much to disclose to them. I have revealed that he has been diagnosed with autism, but I haven't really expanded on it. Have they noticed that he is different? That he doesn't play and interact with the other kids as well as the others? That he has a speech delay? I am still very sensitive about the subject , but I want to talk about it. There's that fine line again.

There is a new mom's group we're meeting up with soon. It's for other parents of autistic kids. I'm actually really excited for it. I kind of want to see how Stewie 'compares' to the other kids, and I am happy that I get a chance to connect with other parents. It's not easy and it's nice to relate to people who are experiencing the same things with their kids for the same reason. There is a monthly meeting for parents of autistic children which I am looking forward to going to. We were not able to go last time, which would have been the first time. I just want to go and hear the stories of others, and share a little bit of our story. I'm pretty sure those parents can relate to the line and can maybe shed some light on how they walk the line of autism and parenting, whether they are successful or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment