“I would love to hear how you really feel about the boys possibly all being affected by ASD. And if you think you would have another baby.”
So, I was going to try to make a video about this, but when I did… it ended up being about 20+ minutes long. lol Sooooo I think I’ll make this one a blog. I’m sorry if you guys would have preferred this one to be a video.
I know that I am going to get bashed no matter what I say.
There seems to be a huge divide over Autism being something that should be celebrated or something that makes life harder.
I think it really depends on who you’re talking to, the severity of the “symptoms” and how they were taught to look at it, or how they choose to look at it.
Please remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and just because ours might be different, doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings. I’m a very sensitive person and do NOT have thick skin. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me, but I do mind when you’re rude about it. So, please be considerate.
I diagnosed myself as Autistic with ADHD about a year ago after doing research, talking to others and taking tests for about 6 months. I do some day plan to try to get an official diagnosis. So I feel that I can speak both as an Autistic and as a Mother of Autistics.
Because I didn’t know I have Autism, there are many aspects of my life that were difficult. However, some of the things that are seen as “Autistic” that would normally be hard for some, I’m pretty good at, or I’ve learned to be pretty good at. I can socialize and make small talk in conversations… although I’m not a HUGE fan of it depending and it can be draining. I’m pretty decent at public speaking (at times). I had to practice a lot. Eye contact isn’t too bad for me most of the time. I can hide my stimming (depending on how long I’ve been made to sit still). And every day I’m getting better at dealing with being overwhelmed.
But despite my Autism and despite NOT knowing it, I really think that I would have had a different life (better relationships) had I known (or got a diagnosis as a kid)… I am still functioning. I am still growing and thriving. Heck I’ve got three pretty awesome kids, I got my cosmetology license, and plan on going back to school to become a Speech Therapist. Is my life what I wanted it to be? Not exactly. Could it have been what I really wanted if I wasn’t Autistic. No clue. Lol
Are my kids’ lives what I wanted for them? No. I wanted my kids to be little football players… who would stand up for the kids being picked on, who would go to college, do amazing and great things, get married to the love of their lives, have kids and all live happily ever after. (short version) Could they still do all those things? Absolutely!! I’m not going to allow anything to get in their way. Including Autism.
My job as a parent is to help my children thrive no matter the obstacles. And no matter how you look at Autism. It IS an obstacle. Sure, there are many reasons Autism could be an asset. Heck, how many inventions and advancements in the world were because of Autistics?
But how many of them were isolated? How many of them struggled through life because they couldn’t talk, couldn’t explain how or what they were feeling? Treated poorly or put into mental hospitals because they didn’t know what was “wrong” with them? To say that there is no downside to being Autistic would be a lie (at least in my personal opinion). But there are ups and downs with all aspects of life.
I really think that it’s all in how you look at things. That being said… has my life been harder because of the boys Autism in compared to what it could have been like had they been born Neurotypical? YES. Absolutely yes. Especially the time frame when we didn’t know Justin and Tyler had regressed. I felt like the worst parent on the face of the Earth. We would have meltdowns just going to the grocery store. It’s still hard. Did you read my post about the strawberry syrup?! Do you know just how sticky that stuff it?! lol
They can’t tell me their wants or needs. I don’t care who you are or what your stance of Autism is… but if you were picked up, dropped off and left with no help in a place where you didn’t speak the language, you were HORRIBLE with charades and couldn’t get anyone to understand you… and you couldn’t understand them… both you and the others you’re trying to talk to would get incredibly frustrated.
My kids can’t talk. After YEARS of practice we’ve developed our own way of communicating, but I still don’t always understand them and they don’t always understand me. And if I were to talk to them as I’m talking to you, they wouldn’t understand any of it. Struggles are part of everyone’s life. But not being able to understand someone, for them to not understand you and not being able to really communicate to each other… I find that to be our biggest battle.
It’s taken us years to be able to go to the store without a meltdown.
They all still have problems with eating.
They have no real understanding of danger (like drowning or getting hit by a car).
None of them are potty trained… they can’t really get dressed on their own. We had to buy GPS watches for them because them bolting or wandering and getting lost is a real concern.
They will strip down out of their clothes anywhere with anyone watching.
Justin doesn’t know his numbers, letters, shapes, colors…
Jaxson is 20 months old and doesn’t know his own name. He doesn’t point to objects. He has one word and he doesn’t use it appropriately. He has issues eating.
At 17 months, 6 years and 7 years old… I still have never been told “I love you Mommy”. Jax is the only one who even says Mama and it’s just a sound he can make.
If I died… no one would REALLY understand them and couldn’t take care of them the way I could because I’ve been with them ALMOST every single day of their lives and I’ve made it my mission in life to truly understand them the BEST that I can so that I can advocate for them and help them to be who they were meant to be.
But these are things I generally don’t talk about. Because I choose to focus on the things that they CAN do. The things we’re working on… the things that they’re getting better at. Sometimes it’s purely because if I stop to dwell too much, I could end up crying for hours of just being soooo overwhelmed. But just like if they weren’t Autistic… I wouldn’t go around talking about all the things my kids couldn’t do unless someone asked me specifically.
Do I want my kids to have to struggle every day to do things that their neurotypical counterparts mastered years ago? No. I don’t. Not at all. But I also don’t want my kids to ever get hurt. Does that mean I’m going to keep them from everything that could possibly hurt them ever? No. They’ll fall down and I taught them that they get up, brush it off and keep going. If they’re really truly hurt, they know they can come to me, I’ll help them clean up and offer support, but I’m teaching them to be fighters. Because in this world mostly dominated by neurotypicals, they’ll need to be fighters. To get what they deserve and what they want in life.
Would I have another kid? NO! lol I actually wanted to adopt all of my kids… don’t get me wrong. I love my kids, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world and I don’t regret having them for even a second. But no… I wouldn’t have any more. Their Dad and I actually talked about not having any more kids and possibly adopting a little girl after a few more years (maybe once the boys progressed more) just a few months before we found out we were pregnant with Jax. (ohhh the irony lol)
We believe that Autism is Genetic and we obviously are making Autistic kids, and didn’t want to chance it that we would have another baby who was Autistic. Not because we are against Autism… or that we don’t like Autistics… but 1: we really wanted a girl (kind of glad I had a boy though lol) 2: we weren’t prepared to have another kid (especially right away)… because the older two still needed a lot of our time and attention, and finances are tough. 3: despite the fact that we love our kids no matter what, we didn’t want to knowingly have another child who may struggle the way the older two are struggling. It’s not fun to see your child hurting… but it’s even harder when your child is hurting and they don’t understand why and you can’t explain it to them.
But we did have another baby… and it’s been obvious to me for almost a year now that he was also Autistic. (We’re going to be starting the process of getting him diagnosed within the next week or so). I don’t believe in abortion, but even if I did, and I had known beforehand that Jax was going to be Autistic too… we still would have kept him. There was actually a very small possibility that because of the meds I was on when I became pregnant, that Jax could have been born with shorter arms and legs. His body would grown normally, but his arms and legs could be stunted. And I told the doctor then, that he could be born with two heads, it didn’t matter… we’re keeping the baby no matter what.
One thing I do want to say… is that all Autism is different. There are no two Autistics that are the same. If you would have seen the boys four or more years ago, around the time they regressed and compared them to what they are like now… you’d be amazed. Just like with Jaxson now. In 4 years he’s going to be doing so much better. Autism is not a death sentence. And no matter what age you or they are, there’s always time and room for improvement.
So don’t give up and make sure to get them the therapies that they need and deserve. Everyone needs something a little different in order to grow to be who they were meant to be, and it’s okay if they need the extra help.
And you know what, if I wasn’t or my kids weren’t Autistic… I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. I have no clue what God has in store for any of us… and maybe His plan for me is to raise my kids and talk to you guys. But who knows what these kids are going to do. Just because the future I wanted for them might not happen… doesn’t mean they don’t have a future at all. Let alone an amazing one full of potential.
Do we still have bad days? Yes. Are we still going to continue to have bad days? Yes. But everyone does. It’s how we choose to deal with those bad days that matter. Granted, writing this… we’re having a bad day… and it sucks. And it’s hard. But we still TRY to look on the bright side and push through. Praying that things will calm down and tomorrow will be a better day.
I hope this answered the questions…. I talked long enough that you’d think that I would have had to by now… but I ramble so much and go off on tangents… lol Maybe I did… maybe I didn’t. I hope I did though.
If you have any other questions, or topics you’d like me to talk about, leave them in the comments. 🙂
Love you guys!!! And talk to you later!