World Autism Day is April 2nd. My son, Michael, is autistic… and he’s also a very sweet boy.
Let Me Tell You About My Son
I struggled to have him. It took three years and three IVF’s for me to have him. The only embryo I had to transfer on my last cycle and he’s now an 8-year-old. He giggles often, he needs a lot of alone time, he loves his little brother, but can get overwhelmed by him too. He adores his Nana, loves animated movies (Pixar especially), eats only beige foods (bananas, macaroni and cheese, rice cakes, etc.) and struggles often to communicate what he’s feeling or thinking.
More Than A Diagnosis
I sincerely do love the puzzle piece symbol and what it represents in the world of autism. However, today, on World Autism Day, I want people to know that while autism is a diagnosis that impacts many aspects of Michael’s life, it is not all he is. He sees and interacts with the world differently, but that should never mean he should be treated differently.
Yes, he needs more care, more understanding and certainly, more patience but at the end of the day, he’s a little boy that simply wants to feel protected and loved.
What You Should Know
I’d like to ask you a favor. It’s one I ask every year: The next time you see a child or person acting “differently”, have your own cognitive intervention. Don’t judge them (or their parents for that matter) or think to yourself, “If that were my kid, I would do x, y, z!”. Show some compassion. Being the parent of a special needs’ son can be difficult enough without the glares or unhelpful suggestions. And while 40% of children on the autism spectrum are non-verbal, many have a better receptive language than expressive. Never underestimate how you treat those with autism because trust me – they know your intention.
I love the potential Michael holds.
Michael has taught me new ways to communicate.
He knows what makes him laugh.
My son shares, in his own way, that he wants to spend time with the people he loves.
And I love that we don’t shy away from his issues, because it’s in talking about the challenges and successes, that others learn more about autism… and that it’s NOT a disability. It’s simply a different ability.
Michael is more than a puzzle piece. He is my son and I’m very proud of him.