Sunday, August 2, 2009

Autism: The things some people say

There's no end to the idiotic things people not living with autism say to those of us dealing with the condition every day. From the lunch counter girl ensuring "how hard could it be" to the medical professional saying she'll take the day off during my son's next appointment, one thing's for sure: if I don't need an outsider's unsolicited advice, commentary or opinion, I'll get it. Only those living the autism maze can truly understand the world we share with our loved ones.

For that reason I have said in the past that we can forgive ourselves if, every once in a while, we say we wish our kids were "normal" (labeled "nero-typical" for political correctness). We can forgive ourselves for the thought slipping through every so often that we wish things were different. I'm not saying that we want our kids to be anyone other than who they are today; instead that it's okay if we think about what might have been, if just every once in a while.

Today Nolan was having an especially hard day. He had been whining for much of the morning and afternoon. Later, when he woke from a nap, he was crying incessantly and without reason --- that is, without a reason we could conjure up. No amount of DVD or computer time seemed to help.

I hope its just because I was frustrated for him not at him, but I actually uttered a phrase I have yet even so much as thought up to this point. Without mulling it over for the briefest of seconds, I said aloud to my son, "Can't you just NOT have autism?"

The sound froze in my ears. I mean, I wasn't making a true wish, no rubbing of lamps or upon falling stars. I didn't even expect a magical, glittery transformation or the crescendo of a chorus. But I honestly doubt at that moment that I had spoken the words as a prayer for my son's relief. Instead, I'm positive that at that specific juncture in the space-time continuum, right then and there, I was honestly speaking for my own selfish desire. I meant the utterance for my own satisfaction, a request bourne solely for my own need and want.

I don't know that it was okay for me to say it, to say that sequence of words strung together that ended up forming an impossible plea. I will have to be the one to battle with the appriopriateness of that sentence.

In retrospect, I am not the one battling with the unwanted sentence in the first place.

~ Jon


Corrie Howe said...

Jon, I think it is okay to admit that we are selfish. I think this is the first step to understanding and dealing with our own hearts. I firmly believe the verse in the bible "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks."

When I start hearing things coming out of my mouth, I know I need to do a "heart check."

For me and my beliefs, it usually starts with asking myself a few questions. "What am I depending on to give me what I need?" "If I'm feeling frustrated or blocked, then what is it that I want which I feel this thing is blocking me from getting?" "How does this show that I'm loving myself more than I'm loving the other person?"

Don't know if this helps, but thought I'd lay it on the table for you to pick up or leave to collect dust. ;-)

Jon G said...


Nice, inspirational advice. I think it's the "stopping to think" that I and many others need to think about!