Autism sucks. There. I said it.
I love my kid. I love his all consuming zest for Legos, architecture, graphic novels, art, the Bible. I could get past the overstimulation, the bluntness of speech, the lack of social niceties.
What I hate most is being afraid.
I’m afraid all the time.
I am scared for my kiddo—that his feelings will be hurt when he’s not included. That other kids will tease or exclude him and it’s better for him not to notice than to notice and be emotionally wounded.
Every time my son has a meltdown, I am afraid.
I am frightened for his future—will he be able to have a job and live on his own as an adult?
I am afraid of my own reputation: do people think I’m a bad mom? That I let my child run wild because I don’t discipline properly? I was disinvited from a family Bible study years ago because my child was “unruly.” Looking at you, CAV.
And now I’m terrified that my child will be taken from me.
This fear was realized when my son was taken to a psychiatric inpatient facility from his school. We trusted his school—his guidance counselor, the administrative deans, the teachers—to care for and about him. There were so many times that day he was distressed (as recognized by the guidance counselor) and he had no tools in this new school to cope and no recognizable safe people to lean on.
The one person who seemed to care ended up Baker Acting my child rather than investigating his file and interviewing me to determine what was happening.
I can’t seem to recover from this incident.
It was the worst day of my life.
Every time my children encounter a police officer, I feel afraid. Every time I send my children to school, I feel afraid.
And I’ve heard from so many other parents of children with autism that they are afraid too. This is their biggest fear. I am making my voice heard so that children with autism can be treated kindly, fairly and with justice. So that they won’t be inappropriately removed from homes with loving, competent parents because their school doesn’t know what else to do with them.
I have met with school administrators, high level county administrators, autism experts and I will not rest until I am reassured that our children will be given the appropriate education for which they have a constitutional right.
Because there is no place for fear.
My courage comes from the many messages of love and support I’ve received. People check in with me to see how we are doing and I am so grateful for their care. Recently, I was able to escape to my one of my favorite places on earth for a weekend. As luck would have it, a professional training at the same location was the following week. God takes such good care of me–and I know that God cares for my son even more than I do. God’s love manifested through people gives me strength to continue in spite of fear.
Thanks to all of you for the love and light you lift on my behalf. I’m ever grateful. Keep the prayers coming because this mama is tired of feeling tired and afraid.