A few weeks ago this was my guest post on my friend Kristin’s blog! She allowed me to share with others all about our family & Aiden. I thought this post and information was worth posting again!
I am a momma of three, an auntie, a blogger, a runner and also the parent of a special needs kiddo. Sometimes when people find out that Aiden has autism they don’t know how to respond, how to treat him or really how having autism makes him any different then their kids. I find that sometimes it’s a lack of knowledge that leads to a misinformed response rather then a completely ignorant response. There are also times though that I tell myself that to keep from letting an ignorant comment made about Aiden ruin a friendship or cause a rift with a family member.
Almost a year ago our son Aiden was officially diagnosed with ASD, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Raising a special needs child can effect every area of your life. It has at times taken a toll on our marriage, our other kids & other relationships. One of the first phone calls to a family member after receiving Aiden’s diagnosis was “well can you return him for a non defective version?”. It was in that moment that I realized that not everyone would not see Aiden in the same way they did before hearing his diagnosis. Adam and I were crushed to hear that response. I couldn’t believe that someone who cared about Aiden could suddenly think so different of him based on how his brain processes things and how he sees the word a little bit differently then anyone else does.
I have never thought differently of Aiden since receiving his diagnosis. Shortly after we got it, I did have a period of fear for the unknown, of loss because as him mom I had so many hopes for him and I didn’t know what his life would be like. My biggest fear of how others would treat him. As a mom I want to protect all of my babies and shelter them from cruel comments and from their hearts being broken. Unfortunately I can’t and that is a hard reality to live with, especially when you have special needs child who can’t always stand up for themselves.
I feel that having a child with Autism has made me a better person and a better mom! Don’t get me wrong, I have days when I want to pull my hair out too but thru it all I have three kids who will one day leave their mark on this world! Aiden has taught me more in the precious almost 4 years of his life then I ever knew before. He helps me to see the world in such a creative way! He brings out my inner child and makes me stop to play in the rain and to enjoy every moment. He has taught his big sisters to be accepting of everyone and to not judge someone based on a disability or difference. His big sisters have been by his side loving him and helping any in way that they could to help him be the best Aiden he can be. In our house, we have the rule “there is no perfection, just being the best you that you can be”.
If you don’t know what to say or how to act once you find out that someone has ASD then the best advice I can give is this … Treat them how you would treat your own children. Everyone, special needs or not just wants to be accepted and included. There is a chance that you may see a mom one day with a child throwing what looks like the biggest temper tantrum you have ever seen. You may see that mom trying to calm that precious kiddo down in any way that she can, so that she can talk to him. I mean no one can listen and respond when you are upset. You may not think she is parenting like you would, but don’t judge her without knowing the entire situation.
I know first hand what those judging eyes feel like. We get those looks when Aiden has a meltdown in the grocery store due to the intercom system being so loud it hurts his ears to the point of crying. It could be the buzzing of the lights is so loud it’s all he can hear even though I never heard it. It could be another child is screaming at the top of their lungs and he is simply overwhelmed. I can’t stop and tell every staring eye why he is so upset, it’s just not possible. Sometimes I don’t even know why he is upset or what is hurting. The only thing that I can do and try to do is inform as many people as I can. Maybe then the next time they see that situation they may look at it a little differently. Maybe next time you may not stare, judge or even go and tell that parent how horrible they are at parenting their child. Unfortunately all of those things happen a lot more then people think!
I can’t forget the stares, the judging comments or the the way that people treat Aiden. I hope that you never have to endure those things, and even more that your child doesn’t. I also hope that one day this world be accepting of those who may be different or process the world differently. I hope one day that those who know Aiden will treat him like the adorable, precious little boy that he is regardless of his diagnosis. I hope that one day we can have a play date with no meltdowns and go to the grocery store and come out as happy as we went in! Until that day, weather it comes or not I will keep doing the best I can to raise three amazing kids and advocating for my little man & so many others in the world!
This is my Aiden. He loves Lightning McQueen. Thomas the Tank Engine. Spiderman. He has one of the brightest smiles & lights up a room when he walks in. He may have ASD but he is also an adorable precious little boy .. My little boy!