Sunday, November 17, 2013

This is Autism

In honor of Monday's this is Autism Flashblog

How sad that Autism is so vilified by Autism Speaks. I have to say, as someone who is autistic, that I don't think autism is the death sentence they make it out to be. 

As a child I always knew I was different. My parents were highly protective of me and my siblings. No one was alowed to call us names or speak poorly of us, even if that person thought we couldn't hear what was being said. I remember my dad yanking me out of Brownies, of which I thought was boring, because some parents who were chatting together called the lot of us Gremlins. I adored my parents for their passionate support of us. They didn't want me to feel like I was less than God's child. They wanted me to know I had dignity within me that no one had the right to trample on. 

I was a sensitive child. I was honest and very giving. My parents had to ban me from giving my things away because I was so generous. I took to heart the Christian lesson of loving everyone and sharing what you had. Many took advantage of that generosity but again my parents did the best they could at protecting my welfare and my innocence. Today, I love making things for my friends. I still give away my  possessions to my friends but it's more tempered. 

I was both lonely and self-possessed as a child. Very independant of my peers. I took pride in rebelling from my peers rather than my parents as a teenager. I listened to classical rather than pop, on purpose. I refused to go to any of the dances after I went to one in sixth grade and found I was being made the butt of a joke. I could see that all the rules and discipling my parents put on me was because they loved me, cared for me, and only wanted the very best for me. Whereas, my peers would become not-my-friends at the drop of a hat. Abandoning me in my time of need and bullying me to get me to do what they wanted or making me into a joke. 

As a rule bound person, common in autistic individuals, I thrived under my parents tutelage to give me independance. They pushed me just the right amount to help me grow without driving me into my shell. My dad signed me up for my driver's license and drove me to my tests saying that he wasn't going to have me be like my grandmother who never learned. My mom pretended to be me and called to schedule me an appointment with an Army recruter. My parents knew I had an interest in it but that I would never make the call on my own, it was one of the best things for me that ever happened. My mom signed me up for college, though I had no idea what I wanted to do. My parents helped me with my verbage for my interview at the court for a job. Without that, I would never have gotten it.

From there, I was able to make more proactive steps in my independance. I bought cars, saved money, earned a degree, got a middle class job doing data entry (which I loved), bought a home and carried a mortgage, took martial arts and earned a black belt, got married, and had three children. I manage our household watching the boys, buying groceries, cleaning and organizing the home, and I'm hoping to dive into homeschooling when our oldest is ready for kindergarten. 

Would I want to be "cured" of autism? Not really. I like my solitude and introspective nature. I like not understanding jokes when it's obvious they are crude. I have enough friends to keep and I don't really want more. I love reverse engineering stuff to figure out how it goes together (crib in pieces with no instructions, awesome). 

What exactly are they going to cure me of? Generosity? Honesty? Brotherly Love? Patience? Map reading skills? Puzzle solving abilities?

Nah. They can keep their cure. 

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