Living in a High functioning family of ASD

Happy Autism Awareness Month!

Today is the kick-off of a month of awareness, support and understanding of Autism Spectrum disorders.

I am taking a moment to think about how Autism has formed my family over the last 4 years.

It sprung upon us like a Jack-in-the-box…without notice, beguiling. The music of life played and lulled us into a feeling of contentment and domestic bliss, no one expected the “CLICK” and the release of something unexpected. The smiling little Jack face bobbing back and forth with exactly like a diagnoses. Sprung from the darkness of a box into the light of everyday.

It made you wonder how to take it. Tears seemed excessive but laughter not exactly the right sentiment. Confusion.

I won’t lie and say we didn’t grope about blindly trying to find the right path to take. We sure did. We also tried to navigate our path with maps….but Autism does not work that way. Your map is always missing a piece…no one knows exactly what piece, or how important, so you have to always guess that your choice is best. You learn from trial and error and continue on. NEVER can you hope to get it right in one try. It just doesn’t work that way.

perseverance will set you free.

We did find though through love and desire to make life work that success was easier than we anticipated. It was a lot of sweat and tears at first, but as time marched on our own acceptance helped to teach us how to embrace Autism. Feel it. Live it. thrive form it.

With acceptance, came understanding, with tolerance, came survival. With enjoyment, came happiness.

It was never easy, I won’t stretch the truth and make it sound as it was. It was something that was necessary to work through, there WAS a light at the end of the tunnel and the train ride, however turbulent and wild was so worth it! I would gladly do it again and again like a child jumping off a ride at the fair and lining right back up to go again.

Sometimes we do need time to grieve the life we expected and I think some of the addictions, illnesses or hardships that happen to parents or friends and family of Autistics such as drug or alcohol addiction, depression/aniexty, relationship strains, affairs, divorce can sometime be caused simply by the inablity or unwilliness to take the time to grieve the typical life you thought you were going to get.

It is ok to feel cheated. It is ok to ask “why me?” It is ok to think “I can’t do this” and just maybe by letting yourself feel you can save yourself the hurt of the above mentioned experiences.

What isn’t ok is to pretend that these things are not happening.

I am lucky to be able to feel Autism is a blessing. I have a high functioning son that will have many issues to struggle with but know that I have many supports in place to help him and his family cope and succeed.

Not everyone does.

My family of 6 accepted life for what we were given and we learn each day what we need to do to help each other. My boys all love Lincoln for who he is, and we never wish to change him. The “A” word isn’t a bad one in our house (ok sometimes Ass-burgers is a taunt, but face it, to a 3 yr that is funny stuff!) and we try to make our kids understand it isn’t that we WON’T do something (A movie, an amusement park, swimming or sports) but that we may need to think out of the box and do it “our” way.

Other parents may not understand why I worry about my 7 yr old at the park running off, why I cannot let him walk about the grocery store solo, why I can’t just take the 4 kids to the flea market with them…but with more awareness, some day they may.

I need to also stop feeling shame (and come on! it is just that sometimes…no one is flawless) and educate others as well. Attitude is everything. If I feel bad or wrong then others with see Autism as just that. I cannot control that my son was born with Autism but I can accept it. I can learn to be thankful for it.

Let’s light it up blue for Autism awareness month to help other families get the help they need and deserve with the hopes that some day, every family effected by ASD can feel as blessed as I do. A kind word and explaination sometimes opens othrs eyes.

My husband Jack has put together a group this year called  “INK4AUTISM” here is the link. http://www.facebook.com/#!/Ink4Autism

He has done an AMAZING job on working with tattoo studios to help raise awareness with Autism tattoos. Any tattoo enthusiasts, check out this month-long event!! Pass it along. Great job, Jack!! Truly.

As well, Our family (all 6 of us!) will participate in:

WE are “TEAM LINCOLN” and ANYONE interested in participating (you don’t have to actually walk you can virtual walk) or would like to donate you can do so here: http://events.autismspeaks.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=8921 with our sincere thanks.

Autism is now effecting 1 and 88 children. WOW! Everyone of you will know someone with autism, maybe more than one. You all know Lincoln. research helps make families better educated and prepared to give their children the life they deserve. Early recognition makes a difference. Trust me. I live it first hand.

Without the early help we have been given I doubt LIncoln would be such a happy, well-adjusted, loving boy.

HAPPY AUTISM AWARENESS DAY!! LIGHT IT UP!!

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