A few years ago when I was in the process of getting C officially diagnosed I wrote the note below. I felt it was worth sharing now because I want people to understand that this attitude of “Don’t just accept but embrace Autism” is far from new for me personally and I truly hope this might inspire some of the parents that read this blog to contemplate their own true feelings about having an autistic child and perhaps looking at this child they were blessed with in a different light:
“Even though I see more than enough to believe that a diagnosis of high functioning autism is accurate, I hesitate to put it in writing because you don’t want to give him a label that he’ll be stuck with forever you know”
To this statement I rail “Why NOT?!?! Your so afraid to label him as you put it, as if by openly stating yes his brain works in a way that is different from the expected version of normal that this will hinder him. Well guess what, it won’t! Just because you don’t want it to be so his brain DOES work in a different way from many other people’s. But it’s not a negative thing to admit it, he sees the world in the most amazing way, free of social constraints that so many people just accept because “it’s just how it’s done” He questions everything, he’s NOT afraid to show people he loves how he feels, he doesn’t understand why he has to be away from people he loves, he gets so excited about everything that when you watch him, you can’t help but to get excited over little things too. A part of him will never lose that “innocence” of childhood, because he will always love unconditionally, he will always try his best to make those he cares about feel special, he will always believe that anything is possible if you try hard enough and I don’t ever wish for him to change!
He’s perfect just the way he is, and I see the amazing beauty of his true authentic self every time he finds out we’re going to have ice cream or go for a walk to the park or go swimming, or that a friend is coming over or any other million and one things that make him smile and jump up and down with elation every single day.
He loves more purely than anyone I know, and by giving him a label he’s not being hindered, he’s not being constrained or minimized, he’s being set free to explore the world on his own terms, he’ll be given the opportunity to meet with other fantastic people who see the world from a more open, literal perspective like he does. He’ll be given the opportunity to say openly “I don’t understand what you mean by that” and be able to tell those that matter to him that he sees the world differently.
One day perhaps enough people with this “terrible label” will have interacted with supposedly “normal” people and have shown them, just because it’s always been done a certain way doesn’t mean that it should continue that way.
He’s currently turning 7 years old in 2 months and last night he told me he was sad because all the wonderful times we’ve shared already will never come again. At not even 7 years old he understands the fragility of our existence better than many “normal” adults, when someone he cares about comes over he lights up and runs to hug them, that is a beautiful thing that so many of us are too scared to do: Openly without thought of rejection show love and affection, if only we all could be MORE like him!
So yes, please label him, and while you’re at it, understand that I see just how incredible he is, I am frequently brought to my knees in tears at the overwhelming sense of awe I feel just watching him, completely entranced by the light of his soul shining bright, humbled beyond measure that someone somewhere thought I should be lucky enough to be blessed with him as my son.
Label or not, he’s absolutely perfect to me, a wonderful example of how to live life honestly and openly without needless pretenses that only hurt or distance those around us.