One night I was sitting at my computer, utterly exhausted and crying. It had been a long day with autism at our house. She was finally asleep, and I was doing what a lot of us do, frantically searching the Internet for anything that would shed some light on what on earth we were supposed to do to help this child. Grasping at straws. After a few hours of turning up nothing, I typed Autism sucks into the search engine and hit enter. The only thing to come up was a simple white page with a few paragraphs. It said something like:
“Yes, autism sucks. Some days are really hard, and you wish you were all dead, but other days are happy- your kid learns to tie their shoes, or use the bathroom, and you have a triumph. Good days will happen, treasure them.”
This page was not connected to anything else, it was a stand alone page. Even though I don’t remember exactly what it said, it was a beacon of hope to me that night, when we were passing through very dark days. I have never been able to find it again- it was like a special message just for me on the night when I really needed it. Whoever put that out there- thank you so much for hope. If you are a person who has typed autism sucks into the search engine I hope I can send you the same message. All is not lost, you will look back and see the successes and be amazed at the difference your perseverance has had for your child. Try to remember how much courage it takes for your child to do the smallest things. I have really been inspired by my daughter’s courage. When she went to kindergarten, she used to come home and lay on the floor, and cry and say Mommy, how can you send me there every day? I hate school! Now, she steels herself and plunges into a noisy, scary Junior high every day. Teachers and students do not understand her, and many are cruel, but she is brave and goes anyway. And she is successful. Her grades are high, and she has a group of kids who she sits with at lunch. She successfully invited a friend over, all by herself. For us, it doesn’t get much better than that!
Our little girl has Asperger’s, so she is higher functioning than some, but there was a time when she spent most of her life on the ground, screaming bloody murder. This week, she placed second in the county Spelling Bee, and tenth at the regional bee. She did this all by herself. She only forgot which way to go on the stage once, which was not that big of a deal, and she self corrected it during the next round. Will she be able to go to college? Will she be able to live on her own? I’m not sure. We will cross that bridge when we come to it. In the meantime, we are going to keep buffing up her shiny trophy and move on to her next big accomplishment.
Don’t give up. Never, never give up. It will be worth it.