Having an autistic child is not the end of the world--far from it. It is my hope that through this blog, at least a handful of people will get to understand that. My child is amazing, she brings us tremendous joy. We have good days & bad days, but we CHOOSE to focus on the good. Our belief is that by loving our daughter, giving her the most comfortable environment we can, and by most of all accepting her differences, she will continue to blossom--in her OWN way.

2/14/07

NeuroTypical Entitlement


Since when did we, as parents, become owed a certain spec of a child? Are we obligated to get a 'normal' kid, maybe even a blue eyed, blonde haired darling who will undoubtedly either be hero quarterback or bubbly cheerleader? That seems to me what so many of these parents feel. Those who are so steadfastly 'fighting' to cure their child. I can't even fathom the amount of money, time, & energy these parents spend on trying to normalize their children. Their assumption is that they lost their child. In their mind, children 'with autism' have had their souls stolen from them.

The basic undertone I hear time & time again from these parents is that this kid is not what they signed up for. They dreamed of a child who they could easily take out to restaurants, have fun in playgroups, have a big group of friends, and certainly never have to 'explain' certain behaviors while in public. They whine about how their kid can't ride a bike or how they always wanted a son who would play Little League. As if any of that is the end of the world. It seems as if they thought they were guaranteed some sort of "NeuroTypical Entitlement" & are pissed as hell the deal was not followed through on. How dare they not have a 'normal' child? What will their family, friends, neighbors say? How ever will they explain this 'situation' to others? I see so much resentment toward their children.

All of that hatred toward life & how unfair it can be spirals into blame & anger. They find causes to point their fingers at--vaccines, drinking water, french fries, the list goes on & on... They band together to form armies to alert others of the terror that lies from these so-called causes. Websites, support groups, organizations form to warn & scare other parents. Don't vaccine your kid or they'll end up like mine! All of this, I suppose, let's them sleep better at night. If there's outside blame to lay, something to point to & get angry at, well, there's some peace to that. It's comforting to not have to look at yourself or to simply accept something that you cannot understand at first glance.

I imagine that had I spent the last few years angry & bitter, devoting much of my time to assigning blame & focusing on a 'cure,' my child would not be thriving as she is. Instead of looking at her & seeing someone who was lost, and feeling as if I'd been jipped, I got on with it. I saw through the things my child wasn't doing, and saw what she WAS doing. Yes...even the kids who are sitting alone, staring out a window rocking, they are doing something. A lot of these parents don't see it. Look past the walls we as parents often feel locked out of.

Let go of whatever guilt, shame, fear, embarrassment, and anger you have. When we become pregnant or adopt a child, we are in no way entitled to a 'normal' just-like-everyone-else-kid. There is a slippery slope of wanting a 'normal' kid & not a disabled one. Naturally, no one wishes or hopes for a disabled child, I doubt anyone dreamt of having an autistic child either. It's not exactly what goes through your mind when you're picking out a nursery theme. But, what defines someone as being disabled? And, what would that spectrum of disability look like? Who decides? Who decided Down's Syndrome was too tough on parents? As more & more people look to "cure autism," it is a fine line they walk. Hitler wanted a nation where everyone was 'perfect.' I can't help but see the connection when it comes to the autism debate. We as parents have to make sure that our children are accepted & not ostracized in the years to come. None of us are 'owed' a certain child, love your child--however it is that they are.

6 comments:

abfh said...

Since when did we, as parents, become owed a certain spec of a child?

Since it became profitable to convince parents that they had such an entitlement. Lots of unethical people are making truckloads of money as a result.

I'm very much reminded of the Star-Bellied Sneetches.

S.L. said...

Yes--exactly like the Sneetches!

It does startle me to think of the money (& fame) these quacks have made for their so-called 'cures.' It is sickening.

Jen said...

Hi there,

Glad to have found your blog! I've enjoyed reading the posts and wanted to emphatically wave to another mother of an autistic child!

Jen

Lisa/Jedi said...

abfh just sent me the link to this post & I'm very grateful! I posted similar sentiments in my blog yesterday. I have finally had it to "here" with this spurious sense of entitlement run at all & sundry by the curbie types. Life may be different & sometimes tough with an autistic child, but life is beautiful!! :)

Jessica said...

You're right......parents do feel helpless because most of them would rather be childless than raise a low functioning child with autism. Isn't that the heart of the issue? No parent would CHOOSE autism over 'neurotypical.' Don't vilify the parents for these natural longings. Autism is like a refiners fire and most parents find they are dross. It breaks weak families apart, ruins countless spousal relationships, pulls love and attention from the 'neurotypical' siblings, and makes a parent feel like their life is over and a lifelong prison sentence has begun. I can't believe you'd judge a parent who might say "I didn't sign up for this" as they wipe their 30 yr old child's behind.

Ark said...

Jessica- I have nothing to say to someone like you. You have no sense of acceptance and clearly don't know what it means to love someone.

I am autistic and I am also intergender. Those are maybe two "really good" reasons to want to throw me away. A lot of people have done that- my family was the second. First it was society, then it was my parents, then friends. I didn't ask to be born as an autistic person, nor did I ask to be born intergendered (it's not "transgendered"- http://www.intersexualite.org/usa.html).

Would I rather NOT be either of those? NO. I see absolutely no "special privilege" to being JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

Sure, I will most likely be living at home for the rest of my life, but the only thing causing any pain over that is the people who tell me it's "wrong" or "stupid" to do it. I'm fine by myself, living the way I NEED TO. I don't people like YOU attempting to speak like everyone suffers.

I have not ever, ONE TIME, suffered from autism. I have ALWAYS suffered from the idiots who think it's okay to harass or abuse people different from them. Does that mean I should change just so they don't make fun of me anymore? Like hell. They can either grow up or shut up.