Sorry for the staccato opening there.
I'm in tears now, because I just showed my son video clips of Autistic spectrum behaviors from the Autism Speaks video glossary. All this was spawned when I read When Children with Autism Become Adults on the New York Times website.
Our Noah was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified...another term for We don't know how/why you're son is fucked up and, oh, by the way, there's no cure) when he was 3 years old. Come to think of it, it was right before 9/11. Shit, a Tower year, indeed (for you Tarot folks).
We, he, has come a very long way. In fact, the stinker just brought us both a cup of coffee! *takes a sip* He's now entering adolescence. He's 12.5 and his voice is changing. When he laughs, it's so hearty, I call it the Adolescent Foghorn. (And we do laugh a lot around here. Now, anyway.)
I'm not going to give you a sob story or relate my ordeal. I have the T shirt (an anxiety disorder!) and I sure as hell don't want your pity. God forbid if I used Woundology (to use a phrase from Caroline Myss) to trade for your readership, support, friendship or patronage, right? (I'm kidding! Don't look so serious. Yes, I can see you through my magic crystal ball.)
So, anyway, just wanted to share that Autism touches lives in a very deep way. Sometimes, that touch can cause social ostracization, guilt, anxiety, depression or worse. Did you know, for example, that 1 out of 70 boys are diagnosed on the Autism spectrum? That's a fucking epidemic if I ever heard of one. More than Cancer, AIDS and Diabetes COMBINED, in fact.
I'm thankful Noah has come such a long way. He's articulate, bright, creative, hilarious, happy, optimistic, compassionate, helpful and diligent in his studies. Oh, yeah, I homeschool him. Forgot to mention that. When I witnessed a teacher shaking him in pre-school (I was across the room helping other children as a volunteer)--and then lied to my face when she caught me staring (she said he "fell")--I knew that my first instinct to homeschool any children I had was right.
We've endured the stares of people and other parents. The tsk tsk of uptight super-Moms and snotty restaurant patrons (and staff). Thank God all that is now over and we can now eat, shop and watch movies in public. And, thanks to the magic of modern medicine, I no longer have panic attacks, constant diarrhea and debilitating anxiety (thanks Lexapro!).
Unfortunately, there's no magic pill for Autism, though. (In fact just a little while ago, Noah asked me if there was a pill for it).
I have spiritual tools that have gotten me through Autism (click here to know one of my secrets). No wait. More than gotten me through. Empowered me to not see myself as a victim, but as a co-creator of my experience. As an opportunity to be a more expansive, patient, compassionate, strong, graceful, resourceful human being.
At home--as a wife and mother--I practically am. I recognize that (no, I'm not kidding on this one. It's what they tell me, too). But, that means my imperfection probably shows up more online. Attitude? In spades. Bluntness? I don't time for your bullshit. Honesty? Honey, after what I've been through, I don't have the time or patience to sugarcoat the truth or kiss your ass so you'll like me, buy my books, call me "sugar" or "cupcake" on Twitter, or let me into your special "town" or "guild".
You wanna block me on Twitter or call me a bitch? Go right ahead. That ain't nothing, homey. "fist bump"
So. Here we are. Thanks for staying with me this long, dear reader. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them, OK? I promise I don't bite. (Well...let's just say I won't bite commenters on my blog.)
To know more about Autism, including signs, visual symptoms, diagnosis, care, transition and resources, please visit Autism Speaks.