Monday was National Autism Awareness Day, but April is Autism Awareness Month; even still for my family every day is an Autism Awareness Day. I could write a lot of mushy gushy things about how awesome my sons are, I actually probably will before this post is done; but I want to be honest: its hard. Its really freaking hard. Its hard for them, its hard for me as their mom, its hard for their dad, its hard for their sisters.
My son Nicholas has been diagnosed with some form of autism since he was 3 years old, currently we have a standard Autism diagnosis. He also has a genetic duplication of chromosome 15q, which causes a whole other host of medical and intellectual difficulties. He’s been in the hospital more times than I can count, poke, prodded and examined all of his life. He is 11 years old, but he cannot yet read or write. Even though his giggles are infectious, loves minecraft and being with his brother. He is compassionate and empathetic, sometimes to a fault. He is who he is regardless of diagnosis and even when things get tough, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Francisco blessed me by letting me become his mother when he was just 10 years old, but he came into our lives at age 9. When the agency talked to me about him they said he had “strong autism tendencies”. It took a long time, but recently he finally received the diagnosis, which only solidifies what we already knew. Francisco struggles with empathy and “black & white” thinking, he doesn’t see shades of gray like the rest of us. Things for him are or they aren’t, so emotions are dramatic and there is a clean line in the sand. Even so, when I see him genuinely laugh or try really hard to make a joke (even if it falls kind of flat) I beam inside. He is an amazing kid and I honored to have him in our lives.
Being a parent of children with autism is isolating, the majority of my adult conversations are with therapists, doctors and specialists. I crave human interaction sometimes, even though its exhausting. Life with Autism for those effected and those that love them is just difficult, but beyond the tough times is laughter even when mixed with tears and smiles; lots of stories about minecraft and pokemon too. The days can be long, the days are redundant, but its ok because tomorrow is always a new day and a fresh start.
Want to help those with Autism and medically fragile children right here in your community? Consider volunteering or donating to these awesome organizations: