April is Autism Awareness Month, but at this point is there anyone not aware of autism? While most people are aware it exists, I’m often surprised at what people don’t know about autism. Maybe you have been too.
Since James’s autism diagnosis in 2010, I’ve been asked lots of questions about the cause of his autism, his behaviors, and his future. But these five are the most surprising.
- What did you do to make him that way? Years ago James and I sat down at a potluck our church was having with another church. The lady I sat by gestured to James and asked, “Is he going to grow out of that?” I wasn’t sure what she meant. “His autism? Will he grow out of his autism?” “Yes,” she answered. Then followed up with, “What did you do when you were pregnant to make him that way?” This conversation happened soon after James was diagnosed, when I was still in a tender place myself. It was hurtful at the time, and I’ve had to work through the shame it caused by reminding myself of God’s love for me and for James, knowing that autism is one of His good and perfect gifts, to bring about His purpose for our lives.
- Did they give you a handbook when he was diagnosed? At a recent physical, my doctor asked about my stress level. I told her I have a son with level 3 autism, which studies have shown leads to an increased level of stress for parents (because we often don’t get enough sleep, we are always on alert to keep our kids safe, and we have to deal with ridiculous questions and comments from others). Maybe I was the first special-needs parent she had ever talked to, because her follow up question was if we get a handbook that tells us how to raise “kids like that.” Man, I wish. That would sure help. But no. We are often entered into school and health care systems that are understaffed and underfunded. If we’re lucky, we’re handed a list of phone numbers to call to be put on waiting lists for therapies that may or may not help. But no handbooks with information that applies to every kid diagnosed with autism.
Source: Special Needs Parenting- Key Ministry