I think it’s fair to say that some days I hate autism. I mean I really, really hate it. Today is one of those days.
For the past four days our family has had the dreaded yearly sickness bug. It usually strikes around the October half term and this year has been no exception. It has worked its way around the children one at a time, starting with the girls and ending up with our boy. Obviously it is awful watching any of your children being ill, but with the girls, they can understand what is happening to their body and know that after a while, they will start to feel better and things will get back to normal.
However for our boy, his autism means that not only is he feeling really poorly, but also his world is turned upside down. His beloved, ridged routine has been well and truly turned on its head. He is not eating or sleeping at the same time, or doing any of the things he usually does, to make himself feel safe and secure – making him anxious and confused.
This morning when he was starting to feel better he had a big panic attack, shaking and running up and down and asking over and over what is coming next. This is why I hate autism today – because it makes a hard situation even harder for him, it just doesn’t even cut him a bit of slack when he is feeling ill.
I always feel a little awkward saying that I hate autism, as it is a part of my boy, who I could not love any more if I tried. However, it is something that makes his life so much harder in many ways and stops a very clever child from being able to communicate his wants, needs and ideas. Surely that is a good enough reason!
What’s the flip side then? Why do I love autism? I love autism because it makes him the individual that he is. It makes him clever, creative, quirky, brave and beautiful. It makes him innocent, selfless and gives him the purest heart of anyone I have ever known.