Monday, April 1, 2013

Why yes, I am Autism Aware.

April is Autism Awareness month.

And every April, I'm never quite sure what to think about it, to be honest.  When you live with something every day, and it's such a big part of your life, you tend to just man-up and deal with things.

And every April I tend to get squeamish and just wish the whole thing would go away.  Sure, I think the idea of awareness is a good thing, don't get me wrong.  I just don't like the spot-light shining in my windows.  I feel like what I do, what we do and how we do things, is on display for everyone to see and go "Ohh" and "Ahh" and exclaim, "This is Autism....I get it now."

But the thing with Autism is this---its all the time.  It's not one day or even one month.  It's all the time.

It's late at night when sleep is elusive and just out of reach.  It's the routine we follow and it's the clothes we wear.  It's the food we eat and what we don't eat.  And more specifically, Autism is what we eat on a certain day, a certain way, and how the plate is set with the milk at exactly eleven o'clock, as if the plate were a clock, every single meal.

Autism is taking the exact same way to the store, never deviating.  It's going up certain aisles and down others.  It's the same DVD that's been in our minivan since 2010.  (Megamind, if you're curious.)  And it's also knowing which store to go to and when, and which one has paper towels in their bathrooms and not the sonic air blasters.

Autism is dealing with meltdowns and people staring.  It's sometimes feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders and wishing like hell, just once, everyone would mind their own business.

Autism is the flapping, toe walking, lining up toys, singular play and lack of interest in others.  It's hours and hours of therapy, IEP's and wishing that sometimes you could catch a break---and realizing that the only break you may get is the one in the therapy waiting room.

Autism is all that.

But it's also something else, something more.  Something you won't see in a single day or even in a month.

Autism is coming to terms with a new life, a new way of living.  It's letting some people go and drift out of your life, while finding others.  Autism is sometimes being alone when things are at their worst, yet knowing deep down, you would never dream of being any place else.  

Autism is looking at your child and laughing at their joke and being amazed, truly amazed, at the child in front of you.

Autism is getting that first smile, that first word and that first look into their eyes.

Autism is being comfortable in your own skin and helping your child grow into the person they are to become---because you see potential.  You see their greatness.

Autism is finding out that things are different but its also knowing you wouldn't change it for the world.

It's finding out too, that you're a different person---a stronger, wiser, person.  A person you never thought you'd be.  And to take a minute and look back and remember your old self?  It's like looking into someone else's life, peering into their rear view mirror and realizing that what's come into focus is different from what you expected, but not completely foreign.  And it's realizing that this, this is where you belong.

And that is Autism for us.  That's what you'll find when you peer into my windows and take a peek into my life.  You'll find Autism, but you'll also find much more.  Much, much more.  

Autism is a part of us and a part of our lives.   Autism just is, it's who we are.  And I wouldn't change that for the world, I wouldn't want to.

Autism simply is.

Autism simply is, us.


  1. Great post to raise much needed awareness x

  2. What a beautiful, beautiful description. I so understand mixed feelings about Autism Awareness Month, as if it's something that only happens in April for many of us out here, but I still think anything that helps bring about understanding, love and acceptance along with that awareness is always worth it. Thank you so much for sharing. <3

  3. Well said, friend, as always!

  4. Great post, Lizbeth. Beautifully worded...

  5. *sniff* So beautiful...

    Also, that totally was not me peeping into your windows, I swear!

  6. That really, really sums it up in detail. xoxo

  7. Don't know if I can top Karen's comment.... Coming from a lawyer and all, "summing it up in detail" is probably about as good as you'll ever get from anyone -- any way better than my "hell, yeah, sister!"

  8. Isn't it crazy how much it changes over time. I remember when all I could do was eat, sleep and breathe autism but now it is just our life. It's always there but not all-consuming in the way it used to be.

    1. That's just it. It's just us. No more, no less.

  9. Beautifully written Lizbeth xx}|

    Paige Campbell

  10. What an excellent post. Well done!

  11. Love, love, love this post. You put into words what I've been feeling too.

  12. Thank you for those words. They speak volumes and touch my heart.
    I wish you strength, happiness, understanding, acceptance.
    Actually, you have already accomplished all of these.
    I wish you love.

  13. I love how you explain that Autism is something MORE!!!

  14. Very well said!! I couldn't have said it any better. It is our day to day life... and inspite of everything.. it is still a good life and I thank God every day for my son. He's 8 now and he's a beautiful angel, though he may not act like at times when his routine is disrupted. :)

  15. What a beautifully written post! I don't comment often, but this one really hit home for me. I agree with you...not sure what to make of the whole autism month idea. I do agree that we live it all year round, but I guess I am glad that having a month dedicated to our reality may help to bring awareness to others. If such awareness can help soften the judgements of others when we are out an about then I think it is doing some good.

    1. Thank you Leslie. Sometimes when I write, it's for other people. I think this was one of those times.

  16. This is exactly how I feel and you put it into words perfectly. I get a little chip on my shoulder and want to say "I live this every day!" My son has Asperger's yes some days are harder than others. But he's also loving, funny, and smart!

  17. This is awesome! I will immediately share it on the Facebook!

  18. Wonderful post Lizbeth. I Can understand your mixed feelings.

    My favourite line? 'You see potential.... you see their greatness'.

    So true.

    xx Jazzy

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