Using the A-word would have robbed James of a rare, pure victory. In my defense, most of my parenting mistakes come with the best of intentions.
Instead of making her a better teacher for autistic kids, instead of making me a better autism translator, fourth grade made James a better student.
If this holiday get-together is a chance to showcase my children, to enter them in a competition for best all-around kid in the family, I forfeit.
Just as warnings aren’t enough for some kids, reassurances aren’t either. Gambling offers a middle ground between hovering and hands-off.
The pacifier was a sign of weakness, of immaturity, of difference…. James was attending a regular pre-Kindergarten, and I thought he needed to look like a regular pre-Kindergartner. Even in bed.
Most people are beginning to understand that Autism Spectrum Disorder means different things for different people. What’s less commonly understood is that it means different things for the same person at different times.
As others reveled in my son’s eccentricities and marveled at his strengths, I dwelled on his differences.
Medication has been an important part of the complex process of taking care of my son. I credit one psychiatric medication with getting him out of his bed and into the kind of mischief you’d expect from a 4-year-old, like appearing on top of the refrigerator. I blame another medication for temporarily turning him into a dozing Eeyore.
I worked so hard to get parents to see their child’s perspective. The child’s anxiety had become unbearable, and the parent needed to bear part of that burden with patience.
What I couldn’t fully see until it happened to me, was the larger burden placed on the parents.