For those of you who do not know….. April is Autism Awareness Month and to promote this event the colour blue is everywhere.
Here is my interpretation of what Autism means to me.
I sketched this bird because he is beautiful, yet vulnerable, he looks like all the other birds but he is unique and flies on a different flight path than most. He is happy with who he is, it is other’s who are ignorant to difference and try to change him into something he is not.
This is for you my sweet clever boy, we will always be here for you and your sister.
Different not Less.
You never see it coming, that healthy new-born baby bubbling with possibilities . I use to wonder why I had so much freedom. Traveling the world, doing as I pleased with little or no real responsibilities. When I met my husband I was at the spiky end of turning 37 and felt I had lived two incredible lives when my children were born. They are our blessing, as is my soul mate. Autism is just one part of our world.
Autism Awareness month gives me time to reflect on how far my son has progressed. For new parents it might seem like nothing ever changes, I am here to tell you it does. Living and learning about Autism has changed who I am. Accepting I and my husband are responsible for two unique individuals. Life is rich in challenges and learning curves you never expected to experience, even if your child is not on the spectrum.
What I have learnt as an Autism Mummy….
I have learnt to try one thing at a time and move on if it does not work for our son.
I have learnt that you are not alone and that there are many inspiring families you can connect with. I am a member of an online group of mums that show incredible powers of strength and love and this post is a tribute to their dedication and friendships which I will treasure forever. Not to mention their wonderful children being and doing incredible things against all odds.
I have learnt to keep high expectations even when others, some professionals tell me otherwise. YOU are enough for your children and you will fight for their right to live a full and HAPPY life.
I also learnt YOU NEVER STOP LEARNING.
N is for NEVER GIVE UP. My daughter is one of those old souls who is like a best friend to her brother, a teacher, a protector and a wonderful sister. My husband is gentle, kind and loving and understands you cannot rule autism with an iron fist, it is gentleness that will set you free. I try to put myself in my child’s shoes, some days I fall short and this is something we humans do, we are not perfect. I get back up and try again.
Autism has taught me that when I feel wrecked and cannot take anymore,
I CAN, I MUST CARRY ON.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel and persistence will get you there. I am not saying my life is perfect, my challenges re group and new ones arise, but I am saying you can find inner peace and acceptance that life is going to be different.
The other day I watched my son running around the football field with hundreds of other children, he almost blended in, although I could see the warning signs in movements that he was anxious. He held it together and made it through the day. This was a very BIG WIN for us. Once upon a time he would not have been able to cope with such a noisy, intense atmosphere, once upon a time we did not go to these school events. I have learned to listen, the one skill I was never any good at. My patience astounds me at times and at other times not so much.
My son has taught me many skills.
LISTEN to me MUM and I will tell you what I need. (Sometimes I have to say no to a third chocolate biscuit) discipline in parenting still has a place in our home too.
Autism is not the end of the world, it is a different way of being and a different way of thinking, learning, loving and most of all LIVING.
If you know someone who knows autism, you have met someone who has learned many brilliant lessons. I hope I have made you more aware of Autism and when you see someone having a tough day, their child maybe melting down in the supermarket, or pushing some boundaries ……. be the understanding onlooker. Avoid judgement they might be caring for a beautiful blue bird just like mine.