I have to be honest... I've spent a lot of time today dancing around something that's been bothering me. It seems silly, but I just have to share it.
While browsing on one of my favorite sites last weekend, I saw a post making fun of Autism. I won't post exactly what it said, because I try not to use the language it entailed, but it had a picture of a kid in a meltdown and, with stronger verbage, basically said that Autism is simply a diagnosis for being a jerk.
When I saw this, anger exploded all over me. Hurt. Frustration. All the times anyone ever looked at me crooked when Ryan was having a meltdown. All the pain just zapped me at once.
I wanted to do something.
I wanted that person to hurt. I wanted that person, whoever it was, to see that my sweet boy is not what he called him. My next thought was, "well, maybe this person is just misinformed."
But that kind of thing is why I sit here. It's why the open book of my life is splayed out on the internet. That hurt, that desperate feeling of wanting to be understood, of longing for hope... that's why I sit here. To share with you what we go through, not for sympathy or a pat on the back, but to give. I share in hopes that you who have been hurt by such insensitivity and ignorance will find a respite. I share in hopes that someone will find the only true hope while they are in my little corner of cyberspace. I share because I have to. God has given us the gift of life, the gift of having to learn to be understanding. He has given so many of us this tightrope called life with Autism to walk, and is standing there ready to carry us when our feet slip.
I share because He carries me.
I share because I've visited enough Autism sites and followed enough tweets to have an idea of the hurt and hopelessness and isolation so many families of Autism feel. How real it is. How a look, a word, a joke, an omitance... is a WAY bigger deal than it seems like it should be when you're on the receiving end.
I share because I LIVE THERE.
I share because from the bottom of my heart, I know, I get it, and I'm so sorry.
I share because I know how wonderful each of our kids are, neurotypical and neurodiverse, special needs and typical.
I also share because maybe someone will read who doesn't know Autism, and will be educated just enough to know to not glare or make a snarky comment. So that maybe some of these things intended as humor will be headed off... that maybe just one person won't have to hurt.
Because as we all know, the only true change comes from a changed heart. I'm not naive enough to think I'm saving the world through these little posts... but to me, encouraging even one heart is worth the world. So I will continue to carve time out to share our stories.
To whoever it was who decided to call my child and so many others an ugly name, your message in a bottle made it to me. So should my little message in a bottle make it back to you, you are forgiven.
To the rest of you, thanks for reading.