Thursday, October 3, 2013

Judging Parents of Children with Autism

Autism looks so normal, Unfortunately this is why so many people judge parents of children with autism. It is so easy to look at the beautiful child and think "Must be the parents because he looks so normal. Must be the parents because he can run, laugh, and feed himself. If only the parents disciplined their child then it would be just fine." Yes, unfortunately we and many other parents have heard these remarks. Why? Because children with autism look normal.
I have read numerous books throughout this journey. The books have helped me tremendously. It gives me a little comfort to know that there are other families out there fighting everyday the same exact battle that we do here in Flora, Illinois. One parent wrote  in her book something that I have thought so much about and I am going to share it word for word.

It's hard to observe a handsome, physically fit child behaving strangely without feeling that they are "putting it on", that the child could control himself if he really wanted to. No one looks at a child in a wheelchair and thinks, "Oh, for goodness sake, of course you can walk! Why don't you just pull yourself together?" No one looks at a child in a wheelchair and blames his parents for his immobility: "Why on earth haven't you taught him to walk yet?" But people do look at autistic children charging through crowds or throwing food about or taking things out of litter bins, and they think or sometimes say, "Why don't you keep your children under control?" 
Many people find it hard to grasp that it is just as impossible for a child with autism to "behave" in public as it is for a child with paralyzed legs to get up and walk. Autistic good looks distract from the severity of the condition. I know a mother who took her little boy to hospital for his diagnosis and was told, "He is beautiful. What you worrying about?"

Another area I have personally thought about was the debate of which is worse, physical abuse or mental abuse? I'm not sure if one is worse but I would say that mental abuse is just as bad if not worse than physical abuse. I feel I can say that with reasoning.  This is very comparable to which is worse, a child that is physically handicapped or mentally handicapped? Again, I would say they are AT LEAST equal. Trenton and all the other children who have "classic autism" have a "handicapped brain". A part of their brain is paralyzed. One just can not see it physically.

Classic autism is not "on the spectrum". It is classic autism. Nowadays they have so many "on the spectrum" cases. That is not comparable to classic autism. When I have the time, I will educate you on the difference.

Autism looks very normal but unfortuatley, it is not. I would do ANYTHING if Trenton was normal. I looked at him tonight when he was sleeping in his bed and he looked so peaceful. I couldn't help but think, "What is it like to be you Trenton?" One child with autism told her father that the one thing she wished was for him to feel what it was like to be trapped in her body. He said it was the hardest thing he heard his daughter say.
Life is sure not fair, I have definitely realized that the past few years.
Thanks so much to those of you in our community who hear our story and have realized what this blog is about! It's not for me, its to be my child's best advocate and educate those who are lucky enough to not walk this journey. It's to educate you and spread awareness of a horrible disease who took my son and changed our family forever.

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