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To That Person Who Said My Child Doesn’t Look Autistic

India, Indian Ethnicity, Homework, Child, Parent, Tutor

To that person who said my child doesn’t looks autistic,

When you see my son from afar or spend just a brief period of time with him, you might mistake him for a non-autistic child due to the fact that he “looks neurotypical.” I’ve struggled for years to help shape him and create this appearance for him.

After his diagnosis, I went crazy. For the first couple of months after his initial diagnosis, it was really hard for me to accept the fact that he had autism, partly due to the fact that I knew very little about autism back then. But gradually, as I educated myself more and more about autism, I began to accept the autism in him. I stopped worrying about how to find a cure after changing my perspective. Instead of viewing autism as a disease or disorder, I began to understand that due to his autism, my son has a different perspective of the world and another way of living within it. I admire the way he behaves as though it doesn’t bother him what others think of him.

When you say I’m a negative person for accepting that my kid has autism, I wish that I could give you a book on sensory processing challenges to increase your awareness of autism.

When I talk about my son and his autism to you, I’m not being a negative person. I’m not worrying about his diagnosis. I’m not scared about his future.

In contrast, I feel very positive. My hope is to give him the best opportunities and supports to improve his quality of life. I’m looking for all different ways to help him grow so that he can flourish in all aspects of his life. I’m looking for the most appropriate educational programs which will best suit his needs and interests.

I will never give up on my son. I’m helping to shape him into the best version of himself every day.

Admittedly, my son has some behavior issues but none of them are a reflection on my parenting skills. The tantrums he often throws and the odd way he behaves are not due to poor parenting. They are due to his sensory processing difficulties and the fact that he cannot accept changes in his environment easily. I’m making myself a better parent by improving my teaching skills daily.

Please do not judge my parenting skills until you walk in my shoes for a while. Please try to understand that I am a parent whose child wakes up at 3:00 AM in the morning and cries for no reason for over an hour. I am a parent whose child has a severe meltdown after seeing me close the bathroom door. I am a parent whose child can’t sit still and play with a toy for an extended period of time. I am a parent whose child is seemingly automatically attracted to any dangerous source of water including deep lakes, ponds, and rivers. I am a parent whose child gets cranky and tries to escape after every “no” response that I give him.

I’m silly, funny, and crazy because of my unique child. He is not good at looking into my eyes and saying, “I love you Mom,” but I believe that he will someday.

I invite you to learn more about autism. You should stop by our house one day and see his happy and excited eyes when he sees the spinning pinwheel in our garden and says, “Wow! Pinwheel is spinning!” for the tenth time in a row.

Amala Mani

The views expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the NLM Family Foundation.

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