Autism & Gratitude
Too often (and I'm guilty of this) talking about autism can become a gripe-fest. And yes, I see the irony in me griping about it....
But really, if the people who care for and love people with autism want to see the world embrace these special individuals we need to quit playing our sad song everywhere we go!
Jem Lester’s debut novel Shtum, which draws on the author’s own experiences as the father of a profoundly autistic non-verbal son, said in an article in The Guardian that he believes it is important that people continue to challenge public conceptions of autistic children. “I didn’t actually set out to write a novel about autism because my whole experience was still very raw at that point and we’d had to really battle to get Noah into residential care. But I also knew how hilarious and joyful he is and how great he is to hang out with and I wanted something that reflected that. I didn’t want to write a misery memoir.”
A new BBC show, The A Word, revolves around a young boy with autism and his family and community. The writer of the show, Peter Bowker, said “It was incredibly important that it was funny,” “I didn’t want to beat people over the head with the story. I want viewers to relate to the family and what they’re going through. There’s an aspirational element – they’re building their own business – and on the surface life is not perfect but pretty damn good. Humour is part of that and also the idea that they are a smart, articulate group, but they can’t talk about this one thing.”
Our life with Caleb is a roller-coaster, but don't forget, roller coasters can be really freakin' fun!!! : ) You might feel sick, you might think "get me off of here!", but it can also be exhilarating, if you allow it to be.
I'm having a hard time articulating what I want to say....
I guess what I'm driving at is this: in the journey of autism, you can look at every set-back, every road block, every meltdown, every stink-eye from strangers who are ignorant to you and your life, every disappointing moment, and choose bitterness and misery.
Or you can choose joy. You can choose gratitude.
Back in March I wrote about Ezra, our daughter we lost to a late term miscarriage, and how in that we choose to have gratitude, because gratitude produces joy in our hearts.
The same applies to our lives with autism. Do I feel exhausted a lot of the times because of Caleb's troubling behaviours? Of course! Do I get sick of hearing about others peoples opinions about how I should be raising and taking care of Caleb? Duh. Can I grump around all day and cry the blues to everyone who would listen? Sure could. But I don't want to.
Caleb, even though he's delayed in many ways, even though this world must seem exhausting to him and his senses, even though he must feel how mis-understood he is, he is more often than not found with a big ol' smile on his face! He's often laughing about something (and a lot of times it's something that just popped into his head and he hasn't said out loud, but he's just laughing!). He's often "telling jokes" - he's actually only really got one (knock knock. Who's there? Owen. Owen who? Owen the saints, go marching in...). It's a doozie, and he actually finishes it with "owen the saints they march and march...", which really makes it funnier somehow! He's able to burp on demand, and can burp anything you want to hear! The alphabet, the Spider-Man theme song, anything! It's disgusting, but it makes him so happy.
Not all people with autism are geniuses. Not all people with autism are savants. Not all people with autism are mentally retarded.
All people with autism are beautiful though, as is each and every life.
Choose to see the beauty there, and choose to see the happiness and joy there.
Real life with autism is all sorts of things, but I want to choose gratitude that I have a son who is in excellent physical health, a son with a sense of humour, a son who loves deeply and has empathy for those around him. A son who eats his pasta one painstaking noodle at a time, and loves bagels with peanut butter and brown sugar (a favourite when I was a kid too!). I am grateful that Caleb is teaching his sisters through his life that people can be very different from yourself, but still loveable and worth loving. I'm grateful that no-one can ever accuse us of not cuddling our cat enough! : )
Choosing gratitude fills your heart with joy. This joy isn't associated with physical and social circumstances! It is an ever-present possibility, reachable by a simple decision. A decision to choose gratitude.
4/14/2016 05:29:26 pm
I'm totally using that knock knock joke!!!!!
4/18/2016 08:58:52 am
Hahaha, oh Val :)
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Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
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