Over the last few years I’ve been learning about autism by reading books and following people on social media who are involved with the autism community. I have been exposed to many different perspectives from parents of autistic children, caregivers and autistic adults. There are many unique viewpoints, ranging from autism should be cured to autism is just a different way of thinking, which reinforces the idea of an autism spectrum.
I’ve slowly realized that there isn’t an integrated whole, there are very different experiences and what is right for one person or family won’t work for someone else. I also see others who realize this and who are welcome to listening while sharing stories about their life with autism. Sometimes its hard to listen, there is a lot of anger from some autistic adults. I don’t disagree with reasons for the anger, I just want to move on from those feelings. I have also gone through an “I’m angry about autism” and frankly I’m tired of feeling that way.
Yet, these people need to share their anger with someone and their expression of their issues has helped me in my understanding of others. I have had an opportunity to build additional respect for differences and I am grateful for the information from all of the people I have read or interacted with, even if it was a negative experience. These bits of communication have helped me with letting go and examining my life to find what is important to me.
With the autism community sharing experiences, I’d like to see the many sides talk and recognize the hardships and the joys for everyone in all of these groups. I also realize it will take time because there are so many who have been hurt or damaged by their treatment and want to prevent similar things for others like them. As I tell people, if it was an easy problem, it would already be solved. In the meantime, I continue on my journey, learning from others and letting go of those people and things that don’t help me while respecting them as I let go.
Also, a very Happy Birthday to my son, thank you for being a guide and teacher for me. I have learned a lot by being your mom and I'm proud of the young man you have become.
Pictures by J.T. Harpster