April is Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month.
However, if you live with Autism, pretty much you’re aware of it every moment.
I don’t like telling people my daughter is autistic. It’s not that I’m ashamed, it’s that, just like every autistic child, she’s less complicated once you get to know her.

First, many people give me the look of “Oh you think you‘re special because you‘re part of ‘that‘ group. You want us to treat you special.”
Well, no, actually its more of a warning that if we visit your home my daughter may eat your cat – just say’n. {sarcasm}

Then it’s the image that she’s going to be screaming, flopping around on the floor and biting the other children.
No, she’s not going to scream, flop or bite anymore than any other 3 year old. (BTW, I was a biter at age 4!)

So I must go into the abridged explanation as to not lose their attention, but be informative at the same time.
“She‘s just like every other 3 year old, she just can‘t communicate, she doesn‘t understand language. Oh and she chews on everything.”
That leads to “Well, that doesn‘t sound like Autism”
Really? I thought so too, however the 50 or so therapists and doctors with various degrees of degrees, disagree.

Then, like every other child on the planet, she makes a liar out of me as she looks them in the eyes and says “I like a kitty”
“You said she couldn‘t talk”
No, what I said was ‘she can’t communicate’ – she can talk.
This only calls into question my parenting skills, since the child can speak, but can’t ask for a cookie.

To make myself feel better and because I know where this conversation is leading, I add “She can also Read, Spell, Write, Count, and use Sign Language.”

At this point, I am informed that I need a second opinion because “Clearly she is some kind of brilliant savant.”

As if brilliant savants don’t come with their own lists of complicated issues.

Times where I don’t need to give great amount of detail, I will say “My daughter is special needs”
But that tends to imply she’s in a wheel chair, it’s not very accurate. She doesn’t use any special equipment, she doesn’t “need” you to do anything special for her (other then hide anything of valuable, breakable and/or small).

I’m trying out “Differently-Abled.” It makes me sound snotty and people tend to listen to more than when I say “Autistic.”

Elements used to create Featured image Artwork provided by Created by Jill.

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