A Different World, A Journey Through Autism

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Having four children out of seven on the Autism Spectrum is hard work. Most days have their challenges and struggles.

Walking alongside them in their unique journeys brings about a lot of emotions that run through me quite often. It’s hard not to be affected by a child who is autistic or not to respond in a certain way. Though the way a person is affected or how they respond is entirely dependent upon how a person looks at a child with Autism.

When I first meet a child who is autistic, I honestly cannot help but smile. They instantly touch my heart.These children are truly amazing little people. They have the ability to perceive the world in a totally different light than you or I. They can shower a person with affection and love, melting their heart. They can recite facts off the top of their head. They can be bluntly honest about how they feel about someone or a situation (and make no apologies for their feelings) or they can come out with the quirkiest and funniest saying or jokes that just make you laugh until your sides ache.

 

Our autistic children are a major blessing to our family. They each have their own unique and special  gifts despite the autism. I’m not saying children in general are not special and unique and do not have their own talents and gifts. What I am saying is despite the struggles and major delays in certain areas these special children somehow manage to overcome them and compensate in unique ways.

Most people would say having one child on the spectrum is a blessing, but having four,I feel God has hand picked us for a special reason.

My husband and I always say that we wouldn’t change any of them, not even the autism because that contributes to their wonderful personalities. While the autism does not define who they are, it certainly is a part of who they are and we honestly love it!

But this is not to say that at times my heart breaks for them out of pure frustrations or because of the isolation and judgments that come hand in hand.

There are days where I am in tears out of worry and fatigue. I worry about their future and their struggles. I worry about them when they are not in my sight and I cannot be with them because they are at school. I worry about their safety and other people taking advantage of them or other children bullying them. I worry if they have a melt down and no one is able to calm them down.

I cry to myself when I see people look at them funny or make judgmental comments in regard to their behaviour or my parenting, because in all honestly parenting autistic children is quiet different from parenting children who are not autistic and only a parent of children on the spectrum would understand this.

When people make judgment on our children with regard to their “naughty” behaviour, what they don’t understand is that at that moment our child is struggling with his surroundings and that particular environment or they are struggling with something particular to a situation.

So when my six year old sits down in the middle of the shopping mall on the floor and starts screaming and crying, turning his back to us and not wanting to be touched at all h e is not being naughty but is quite anxious, in pain from sensory overload or scared and frightened. If you see us try to “bribe” him to calm down, we are not encouraging naughty behavior, but merely trying to get through this moment by calming him down and distracting him with something we know he will like and might work, because we know all too well that at any time another melt down could happen with any  of our other children on the spectrum. We need to get through this moment, calm down ourselves and recollect and focus back on the bigger picture.We have to do what is going to work then and there because we have the whole family to consider and the safety of our six year old as well.

People also perceive our children as rude if they don’t want to greet with a hug and  kiss. Quite frankly, I find this extremely frustrating. From a young age, we teach our children to say “no” or “stop, I don’t like that,” but then people are offended when children do say, “no.”

Not only do children on the spectrum struggle majorly in social settings, children in general are taught about their boundaries. Yet we then take their boundaries away when we force them to do something like kiss or hug a person against their will. Then may I ask how are we supposed to teach them to stay safe from strangers and predators  who would demand certain things from a child if we are ignoring something so simple and basic as not being able to accept from them their “no?”

One of my children on the spectrum will quite often refuse to say hello straightaway and usually takes a while to come over to that person even if that person is a close relative. He also mostly refuses to receive or give kisses, and my husband and I have accepted that because for a reason we might not understand, our son has made his boundaries clear,though he does like a good cuddle!

My children amaze me every day and often my heart is melting in a puddle on the floor. Like all parents, I walk with my children on this special journey that has been chosen, not only for them but for our whole family. I hurt when they hurt, I feel their frustrations and pain and I feel their happiness and joy.

The journey through autism is not a straight and narrow road. It is one that needs strength and patience, the ability to see the sun shine through the rain and the beautiful rainbow after the storm.

They constantly keep us on our toes. But that’s how we like it. With the graces and blessings given to us from God, we are able to make each day count in their precious lives.

Just like how they make each day count in our lives.

 

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A special thank you to Sylvia Bass for her assistance in editing my article.

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  4 comments for “A Different World, A Journey Through Autism

  1. January 26, 2016 at 1:50 am

    thank you for speaking our heart about autism – i’m on the Spectrum (Aspie)….

    • January 31, 2016 at 10:22 am

      Your welcome. It is something so close to my heart yet so misunderstood by many. I hope by sharing our story people will soon learn to understand our beautiful children and also the wonderful adults on the spectrum.

  2. January 26, 2016 at 6:16 am

    I think it can be challenging with any child – even if not on the Autism spectrum. My youngest does not like to be hugged or kissed unless it’s entirely on his terms, and I get scolded for allowing him to be anti-social. I’m kind of like, “It’s HIS body.” For other purposes, it’s important that he can say “no” and that it’s respected. And also in how we handle meltdowns, tears, etc. You’re doomed if you are stern and strict and you’re doomed if you’re kind. I wish people would trust that we are really doing the best for our kids.

    • January 31, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Yes that is so true as we know our children best!

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