Friday, May 30, 2008

Does Acceptance Make Life More Tolerable?

Lately as discussed in a previous blog, I have found myself being more and more a supporter and member of a movement known in certain circles as Autism Acceptance. I was led by the Autism DIva herself to the Autism Hub after I had commented on her Youtube contributions, and explained my feelings on how it always seems I'm on a mission to change Casey's Autism. The Autism Hub has featured bloggers whose subject matter pertains mostly to their children or themselves if they are an Autistic adult, and their day to day triumphs, disappointments, funny stories, opinions, and the latest news pertaining to Autism and their thoughts on that news. You rarely find reference in these blogs to what sort of diet they live to have their kid on (although some do various well-known diets because they help with their child's health, not because they are trying to "cure" them). You will not find someone discussing how a certain supplement made their child speak suddenly in paragraphs. Quite the opposite, some of them will mention their past experiences with such supplements, and how nothing really happened.

It seems what they are all about is accepting their children and themselves for who they are, working with them to make them the best they can be, and most importantly I think, enjoying their children, taking each day as it comes. Which brings me to something I've thinking about for the last couple of days after running into someone.

This lady that I run into often mostly due to the locale of our homes and sharing a school, has 3 children, triplets, 2 Autistic, one not. The 2 that are, for lack of a better way of saying it, are pretty Autistic. They have been in the same program that Case is in, and he has even been in a classroom with one of them. Needless, to say, this woman always looks frazzled, a little on edge, and nervous. From all accounts, her life is excruciatingly busy with three 9 year olds. The child who is not Autistic goes to a different school than her siblings. I have listened to this woman's stories over the years, and they've always made me appreciate the fact that Casey is pretty good for the most part as far as Autistic kids go, and the fact that we only have 1 child in general. Stories of long nights of one of them always being awake, endless attempts at various biomed interventions that emptied their already almost empty pockets and never really worked, constant behaviours that would drive a lesser person crazy, maybe it already has and she's just holding it together. It's from all outward appearances a challenging existence with these children.

This brings me back then to the whole Autism Acceptance Movement. For me, reading about the different families that have supported this movement has given me a new piece of mind, has sort lifted a load off my psyche if you will. It also helps because it has made me appreciate more all the wonderful things about Casey while pushing his Autistic stuff under the doormat so to speak. Now, that Autistic stuff isn't huge, it's everyday irritations that we deal with and hope go away. But for someone like this mom of triplets, I would have to wonder how she could ever be one to tout the benefits of Acceptance, or benefit from being in a frame of mind such as this. When your life is turned topsy turvy and it's not your own anymore, how can you go "Hey, I'm accepting my child as she/he is and sod it all!".

Which has lead me to reading more blogs on the Autism Hub, and lo and behold, there are parents with children, sometimes multiple children on the spectrum, on the lower end of it, equally as busy as this woman's children. The more challenging kids. But they seem to sort of think"to hell with it, to hell with trying to cure them. They are who they are.". And for this, I give them lots of credit. These parents seem to laugh in the face of pain, heartbreak, challenge, difficulty. Perhaps for them, that is life, they've never known anything different, which is sort of our case, never having other children and especially ones that are typical. Maybe for them, like me, it's easier to live day to day, and try to get the best out of things, no matter what level that "best" is , and not think about what could have been and what could be if we did this or that, or gave this vitamin or did this diet. We are all on a spectrum of some sort.

So, having said all this, I don't think this mom of 3 knows of the Autism Acceptance Movement, or would really appreciate it. And that's ok, everyone is different. But I can't help but wonder if her life might be a little different, a little more bearable, if someone put a bug in her ear and lead her to, perhaps Autism Hub. Now what was her email address again, I know I had it somewhere....