Posts Tagged ‘autism parent’

Life Out of Focus 001

Parenting can be tough…any kind of parenting.  We worry about their safety, their development, their…well, everything.  When I look at Katie I worry, but I know that it’s the same worry that every loving mom or dad feels for their kiddo.

But for those of us with special needs kids, sometimes some moments can be especially hard.  The other day while walking Brooke to school, we fell in behind a couple of girls in her grade.  They were chatting away about this and that.  One turned to ask why I was wearing shorts while it was snowing and so cold.  I laughed.  Meanwhile Brooke was running through a few of her morning scripts.  The girls went back to their conversation and Brooke continued with he scripts.

That’s when it really hit me (for like the millionth time) just how big the gap between Brooke and her classmates is and, even harder to take, the fact that there was no exchange whatsoever between these two girls and my daughter…not a “hey”, not a “hi”, not even a nod of acknowledgement.  One of the girls had had a few play dates with Brooke over the years, and is one of the nicer, sweeter kids in her grade, but on that day there was nothing.  It wasn’t intentional or mean-spirited; it wasn’t an active blindness, but it was a blindness nonetheless.  It was as if she and her friend didn’t see Brooke at all.

Brooke herself didn’t seem to notice or care; she simply pushed on with her morning scripts.  I, on the other hand, was devastated.

With Middle School looming not so far away, and then High School and beyond, I am having a harder and harder time imagining what Brooke’s adult life will be like.  I used to be able to see it.  It was as clear as HD TV in my mind; but with each passing year, month, week, day…the picture loses a little focus and what I see in my mind becomes a little more foggy, a little more murky, a little more unclear.

I did find some hope this past weekend.  I was lucky enough to be invited to a dinner of young autistic adults.  Some were more talkative than others.  I chatted with several people on varying topics.  Most importantly though, Brooke seemed comfortable with the people there.  They all acknowledged her presence – they all saw her (and she saw them).

So as cloudy and as murky as my images of the future may be, it is comforting to know that out there in the real world are autistic people who support each other, cheer for each other, but most importantly, see each other.  As long as I know that Brooke will have that when she grows up, I can live with the picture in my head being a bit out of focus.

Read Full Post »

I judge.

I admit, I do.

When I see someone driving their kids in a car while smoking a cigarette, I judge.

When I see a parent repeatedly making what the child already knows are empty threats (if you do that one more time you are NOT coming on the family trip to Disney World), I judge.

When I see people at the gym, taking up space on the treadmill but not using it and then giving the stink-eye to someone who asks if they are using it, I judge.

When I see someone assume that their one view is the only correct view, I judge.

When I see people judge others, I judge – ironic, no?

I admit it. I judge people all the time. I even let it out once in a while for public consumption. It ain’t right, in my opinion, but I do.

Passing judgement, I think, is a natural thing.  It’s like water, easily flowing downstream from your brain to your mouth (where you announce your judgment) or fingers (where you type it out for all to see).

Very often, I find, that passing judgement then puts up a wall, a dam, a defensive fortification, if you will.  We will stand behind that Great Wall of Judgement, right or wrong, to the bitter end, flinging stones and arrows.

But what happens when we step outside the wall and take a moment to understand, or at least TRY to understand?


A couple of months ago I passed judgement on a fellow parent for smoking a cigarette outside my daughters’ school.  There was a time when I was much younger that I smoked, but I eventually came to a place where I knew it was not right for me, so I quit.  I also came to a place where I didn’t care if people smoked as long as they didn’t do it around my children (or any kids for that matter).  I ripped into this parent passive-aggressively online – how could he be smoking outside the school?  what kind of parent is he?  what’s the matter with him? 

I felt pretty superior.  A couple of people piled on.

But then my dear friend Woody chimed in – he essentially asked me what did I know about this guy really?  what did I know about his addiction?

It gave me pause.  It made me think.  His comment didn’t necessarily change my mind, but it did soften my stance a bit.  The truth is, we know that cigarette smoking is bad for you, but this guy I am sure already knows that.  For me the issue was smoking in front of the school and around kids.  For him, whether he knew it or not, the issue may be a question of the power of his addiction.  The point is, I didn’t know this guy at all.


Gee, I’m not doing a really good job of making my point here, am I?

What I’m trying to say is this – very often when disagreements come up, we think we are fighting from diametrically opposed positions, whether it’s smoking, politics or parenting in the autism community.  I think that more often than not, we are not comparing apples to apples and that if we really took the time to put ourselves in others’ shoes, we would find that we are a lot more similar than we think – and even if we are arguing apples to apples, it’s usually more along the lines of Granny Smith to Red Delicious.

I fail on a daily basis to walk in another’s shoes, but that does not mean I stop trying.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: