My child is not typical.
Trying to force her to be something that she’s not doesn’t work.
Let’s play a game, shall we?
Hey, mom, you need to be autistic now.
Don’t worry; we’ll show you how. We’re going to give you therapy to make you autistic.
But I’m not autistic.
Not really relevant.
We’re going to teach you to act autistic.
That’s not who I am.
Yeah, we know, but you’re going to have to get used to it.
But it’s NOT WHO I AM.
No, it’s not.
It hurts to be told that who you are is not okay.
That how you see the world is .. wrong.
That how you act is … wrong.
That how you express excitement, show fear, communicate joy, share sadness, and, and, and .. are wrong.
It is a life of No.
It is an environment of negative, toxic energy.
A gummy bear for not being you.
A sticker on a chart for acting like something you’re not.
It is exhausting.
It doesn’t work.
We cannot be who we aren’t.
Even if we can pretend well enough to convince the panel of judges.
Pretending to be someone you aren’t isn’t a life.
And it hurts no one more than her.
I will not strive for normalcy for my autistic child.
It’s an asinine and dangerous goal.
My daughter is not ordinary.
She is not typical.
She is not a standard-issue human.
She’s much, much more.
I will do everything I can to arm her with the tools that she needs to get by in a world that doesn’t fit.
I will teach her what will be expected of her in every situation I can think to include.
And I will tell her, by word and by deed, that her quest is not to make others comfortable, but to find the space in which both she and others can be as comfortable as possible, together.
That it is not a one-way street.
That she has every right to say, in her way, The fact that I don’t fit the mold doesn’t mean that I’m the wrong shape. It means that we need a more flexible mold.
I once believed that normalcy was our goal.
Now, we strive to appreciate that which is, truly, extraordinary.