Fight on, Autism Moms!

boxing-gloves

 

Autism moms are fighters.

Recently, while I was at an autism awareness event, I asked a fellow mom to be in a photo with me. She jokingly remarked that she would have to hide her arms. “Oh, are you a chef?” I asked, thinking I saw burn marks.

“No, I’m an autism mom.”

Her child had scarred her. Some moms of children with autism endure physical attacks: biting, hitting, or scratching. She laughed, though, and her companions, also autism moms, laughed too. It was just part of their life, something they all understand.

Blogger Amy Seeley with her children many years ago, when her son would still sit for photos.

My son has Asperger’s Syndrome. I have no physical scars, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a fighter. When my son was diagnosed just after he turned 5, I spent months convincing friends and family that his diagnosis was true. “Oh, he’s just a little boy, doing what little boys do,” they all said. It was important to me that they understand that some of his actions were because of his disorder, because his brain works differently from ours. He wasn’t trying to behave badly.

I’ve fought for him in the schools. His first elementary school wouldn’t give him an Individualized Education Program (IEP), despite his diagnosis. When I proactively went to the principal before my son even started school to help the staff understand him, I was told that until he caused a problem, they would not make any accommodations. In later years, he was involved in incidents on a bus and the playground, each social situations where he was left unsupervised.

I’ve fought for him in sports leagues, in summer camps, and in other public spaces, where people didn’t understand why a child who seems so bright and can speak so well didn’t understand how to interact properly with his peers.

Autism moms are fighters, and we love what we do. We fight for the most important people in the world. We fight for our children because if we don’t, who else will? We fight because we want the world to try to understand them. After all, don’t they spend most of their time trying to understand all of us?

So this Mother’s Day, I would like to send out this salute to my fellow autism moms:

Fight on, moms! You are the strongest, most loving people I know. You make the world a better place for your children every day. I am proud to stand in your midst, scars and all.

If you need support in standing up for your child, please contact one of our Autism Resource Specialists. They are autism moms themselves, and they understand what you’re going through. Find one here: http://bit.ly/AutismResourceSpecialists

Amy Seeley, ASNC Communications Coordinator, can be reached at 919-865-5067 or aseeley@autismsocietync.org.

 

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