Well we are almost 1/3 way through the school year and it’s snowing and life is good.
Bird (our son with autism) is 13 and 4 months and he is feverishly awaiting his avuncular “friend” David Hamrick (a friend of mine with autism who is 32 so clearly to old to be Dill’s friend though Dill doesn’t view him that way) to come pick him up along with his siblings and go sledding. David is a wonderful friend who was non-verbal until age 4 and has come a long way and is now engaged to Lindsey a stunning woman with autism and a success herself as well. A documentary on Autism and Love was filmed about them and others a few months back and it should be out in 2014 sometime so keep your ears open. You can read more about them on my blog here https://pvbiamomma.wordpress.com/hope-and-autism/ on David’s page http://www.weatheringautism.org/ in Glamour Magazine and on youtube from a Good Morning America interview as well as other places.
Funny I had no intentions on starting off with the kindness that is a friend coming to pick up my kids because I had knee surgery and am bed bound (the surgery is the least interesting thing in my life so only merits a line) and my husband is at a conference but because both friends coming to get the kids have autism it turned into a diatribe…funny or sad…I can’t decide so I’ll write and maybe you can work it out for me.
I wanted to write today about 8th grade, Bird’s seizures, and academics but my mind keeps turning back to why I need to tell everyone that two grown, loving, responsible people that are coming to pick up my kids. Then in the middle of the explanation that I did not need to write about who is picking up my kids I thought about writing about sledding or the job that Dill has been working since June with 3 great kids on the spectrum…but I kept getting pulled back to this long drawn out potentially boring (sorry dear reader) explanation about 2 people…not X Game medalist in snowboarding, not aliens not hardened criminals not Brangalina but people like the dozens of other people who have picked them up in the last 2 months for any number of reasons that did not motivate me to tell you.
Yes, it is lovely that I have people who love me enough to help me out when I am immobile but I have not mentioned Jen, Amy, Sam, my husband, kids, Neighbor Kim or the countless kindnesses people have hurled on me because they are my friends and friends take care of one another and my friends are really awesome folk and David and Lindsey are among them so this is not unexpected but I am grateful and not expectant as you should take what you get in life and be grateful.
Okay, maybe here it is….maybe (drum roll) people with autism make good friends and I want you all to know this though I have said it before.
I want people to STOP thinking if their child is not heavy with typical friends that they don’t have friends. STOP forcing your child to be interested in what is popular so that it attracts popular (I guess I could say the same for many parents of typical kids with the same lame idea about “cool”).
Dill had a bunch of kids at his Confirmation celebration 3 weeks ago. The table was a mix of kids with autism and kids without autism and the sight for me was tear worthy as conversation flowed all over the table and from typical to neuro diverse. Not one of these kids was more or less special based on gray matter and Dill does not seem to prefer one over the other at this point. He seems now equally comfortable with Nick as with Andrew which is good because in his life he will be surrounded by both.
I guess my worry is that others will discount Dill because of his diversity. I remember a mom commenting once about the division of boys that were being divided into cars to go on a boyscout outing. When I commented that the boy her son was riding with seemed lovely she lamented that the boy was DD (Developmentally Delayed) with newly saddened look on her face. This was like 6 years ago and it was a less than 1 minutes conversation but it really stuck with me that she felt her son was actually cheated by being paired with a boy who to me looked typical and carried a small label next to autism. This was not the first or last time that I would catch these types of unkindness from parents about their kids and “our” kids. I remember a mom who very emphatically told me her son did not have autism when I asked her about how she liked the speech teachers as if she were say,”He isn’t the product of incest and infected with multiple STD’s. ”
Some autism might be a Sexually Transmitted Disorder as we have 3 in our immediate family with autism while others seem to have had a response to themerisol but what does all of that matter. People really are people and just because people have a name for your brand of difference does not mean that you are worse or better than someone who does not.
I am likely preaching to the choir as very few read my blog I believe that don’t have kids on the spectrum, don’t teach our kids or aren’t trolls who won’t understand.
Please try with all you are not to discount your child (on or off the spectrum) because it seems others will do it for you and better so giving them ammunition is like offering them proof that your child is not worthy and that is not your call to make.
For the most part kids and parents seem to really like Dillon this year more than most teachers have always loved him for the most part. I will write my thoughts on why later though for any who know him he really is the sweetest, hardest working, most generous and patient person I have every met (many of these attributes are his dads) and so I find them very lucky for knowing him.
I hope this post find you working hard on yourself and your kids as you don’t get a second chance to make the most of either.