April is Autism Awareness Month. I have a number of friends who have children affected by autism and I tip my hat to you! The respect I have for you is great. My post today is in no way intended to take away the much needed attention that this diagnosis and these families deserve.
My son doesn't have autism. He's not on the spectrum. He has a hidden disability, which means that when you see him you might not know that he struggles. He has been assessed a number of times and it was determined that there is no definitive name for the struggles that plague him. Some people run from having a label for their child. I completely understand that. For me, a label would help by normalizing our experience. It would give us something to google when we're at our wits end and don't know what to do. (Ha ha!) It would help when someone asks what his struggles are. Right now we say something like: It's kinda like autism...but it's not autism.
One of the ways that we, as special needs parents, continue to press on is by finding understanding from our peers. Loneliness in this community is so real...it can strangle the life out of us if we aren't careful. When I encounter a situation where my son or our family is misunderstood, I am tempted to withdraw...and many times I do. We need you to try to understand...try to love and accept our kids. In turn, we will try to be kind and understanding of you...and the obstacle of being friends with us. We know that we aren't easy. And sometimes our pain comes out in intolerance and picking apart all of the ways that you misunderstand us. We're sorry. Please forgive us and don't give up.
With all of that being said, I hope you don't mind that I borrow the month of April to highlight my son and our family since we don't have a "Developmental Delay Awareness Month". Though the labels are different, some of the struggles are the same. Stay tuned to learn more about my little man, and how God flipped our world upside down when he gave him to us.
Until the next time :-),