My daughter was diagnosed in August, right before she turned two years old. I did everything on the pamphlet that the Neurologist gave me when he said "You're daughter has Autism Spectrum Disorder."
I told family, she was already receiving EI but we were now going to be getting much more...intensive in home therapies everyday. I was praised and commended for being her advocate and getting her diagnosed early and for fighting...man did I fight!
The pamphlet mentioned finding a support group, I looked and found none. I turned to the internet to find Moms and Dads like me, I knew I wasn't the only one who needed to talk it out and talk with people who get it, people who are living it, just like my family.
What I didn't know was that there is a great divide in the Autism Community I didn't realize that not only would I be fighting and advocating for my daughter, but I would also be fighting and having to explain myself on how I advocate for her.
I see it everyday...the great divide!
I try and stay clear of it because I have a job to do. I am a Mom, Caretaker, Wife, Advocate, and I'm a person living with Autism! No, I do not have Autism...but my daughter does! I change her, not knowing how long she will be in diapers, I keep her safe by bolting furniture, and keeping all doors and windows locked, my kitchen chairs have been on top of my kitchen table for almost a year, I take her to every appointment and there are many, and I sit down on the floor EVERYDAY during her therapies so that I can take it all in and learn it so that I can teach her for when her therapists are not here. Her needs come before mine and I gladly make it that way...I have a job to do!
I am an Autism Mom, I'm living with Autism! Autism came in to our House when Zoey was 14 months old, and it didn't just change Zoey's life, it changed all of us! I have become her voice, caretaker, teacher, and advocate...I'm living it with her, her sister is living it with her, and her Daddy is living it with her. It affects us all. We are her support system!
So it baffles me when I see heated discussions through the Autism Community!
"You can't call yourself an Autism Mom"
"You don't get it because your child is high functioning"
"You don't get it because your child isn't severe"
"Don't call me an Aspie"
"I refer to myself as an Aspie"
"Accept it, he or she is Autistic"
I've watched the fighting and I have seen people get mean and nasty...it's sad!
A child with Autism has a different journey and path than that of an adult with Autism. Each person with Autism is on their own unique and beautiful path...who is anybody to judge how a person advocates for their young child, or how someone chooses to advocate for oneself?
Don't we all want the same thing in the end?
AWARENESS. ACCEPTANCE. LOVE.
If we are judged by the way we choose to advocate for a child, teen, or an adult with Autism, then I'm truly saddened!
That's not true Autism Acceptance!
We need to Accept that "if you've met one person with Autism, you've met one person with Autism!"
We need to Accept that each path and journey will be different, and that the great divide isn't helping...everyone has their own story and how they choose to tell it...we need to accept that! If we as a community can not Accept one another, how can we ask others to?