Friday, 20 September 2013
Often times, when you tell people you have a child who has been diagnosed as autistic, people will say to you 'Well, special children are only given to special people.'
I'm not having a go here at all, please don't think that. Had the roles been reversed, perhaps I might say the same thing too, who knows?? I know they mean well. I know they are trying to encourage me. I know there is absolutely no malice intended. But why say it?
I am not special, I have never been special. My life has always been fairly unspectacular. Just an ordinary person, in an ordinary home, with an ordinary life. But, now, because I have a child with autism, it appears I was actually special?? It's news to me!
It goes hand in hand with 'I couldn't do what you do' and the 'I admire you so much, I could never do that on so little sleep...' etc,etc.
I find it is particularly other parents, parents of typical children, who say this.
Couldn't do what I do?? So, we better hope their children are never diagnosed with autism or some other disorder or illness then. Of course they could do what I do. Because they have no choice if they want to do the best for their child. That is all I am doing. I am not some sort of superwoman who should be admired. I am simply a mum, doing what her child needs her to do! I am often tired, I am often stressed, I am often running on empty. Does that sound like superwoman to you?? But if I don't do it (whatever it actually is!) then who will?? Am I not just doing what all good and loving parents would do?
Why does that make me special? It doesn't. It makes me a loving mum who will do everything she can to give her child the best from life he can get and who will fight for his right to fulfil his potential.
Now, if you want to tell me how amazing my child is, that is a different matter. He is the one who is part of a world that is puzzling to him. People are puzzling to him. A language that is puzzling (at times) to him. Yet, he gets through each day. I can see him trying to piece it all together, to try and understand it in a way that makes sense to him. Trying to communicate his needs, his feelings when he really doesn't know how, yet he tries anyway, and often succeeds. Now THAT is amazing. THAT is special.
I am merely his sidekick. He guides me. He teaches me. Not always the other way round.
He is worthy of praise and awe.
I am not, I am merely doing my job as a mother. Nurturing, protecting, loving and fighting for my child.
I am no different from any other loving parent.
Except maybe a bit more tired, a bit more stressed, a bit more worried about the future and a bit more judged by others.
But no more special.