World Autism Awareness Day

Last year I replaced our outside bulbs with blue ones. This year Autism Awareness Day snuck up on me: I’ve been caught blue bulb-less. I imagine, though, that the moms and kids at the playground are quite aware of autism after our appearance there today. John had an epic meltdown, all 4 1/2 lanky feet of him. The object of his fury? A tow-headed little girl, maybe two? three? because she scampered above him on the rope ladder with his Dora CD.

Hell hath no fury like John robbed of his CDs.

You would think I had a pat response to the mom stares. You’d think after all these years I would roll with it, or that I would have pelted the gaping faces with eloquent explanations about autism on this: World Autism Awareness Day, but world? I don’t have the energy.

I’m tired.

John is tall. OMG, world, when did that happen? He is all legs and nearly up to my chin. I imagine he looks threatening to a tow-headed three-year-old and her coiffed mom. I see so clearly how people’s perceptions shift when your autistic child is no longer small and cute. I mean he’s still freakin’ cute, but holy crap, he’s getting big.

And world? He is all bark, no bite. He doesn’t have the words to say, “Look here, cute little blonde girl, you can’t just pick up my CD and take it. Not fair!” Instead he screams and drops to the ground. Sometimes. We’re working on that, world. We are working on saying “I feel ____,” and “Yes,” and “No,” and “Sorry.”

It’s a process.

World, sometimes living with autism in a world that doesn’t understand is tough but usually it’s just part of the fabric of my life. A life full of amazing highs and some amazing lows. Just like any life, maybe like your life.

What is it like for you?

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  • Our boys are 8, and I know exactly what you mean. Sadly, the looks don’t only come from strangers. Sometimes they come from friends, too. I just wish everyone could understand how far they’ve come. Like you, I say to the world, “We are trying!” We are doing our very, very best, and if we knew more to do, we’d be doing that, too.

  • In some ways it’s easier for us now because the twins are pretty obviously autistic (they do a lot of ear-plugging, face-hiding and so on in public). But it is hard to actually take them anywhere because they are so heavy and so strong.
    Over all I find people to be kind, but as you said, I’m tired, so even if they’re rude, I just do what I need to do and try to enjoy things.

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