Thursday, June 23, 2011

Annnnd, here we go

It's been a mere three months, three weeks, and one day since I was introduced to the diagnosis "PDD-NOS."  Or, in other words, "He's on the autism spectrum, but not quite autistic-y enough to get a real diagnosis.  Good luck with that."  Only my kid could be so confused about his degree of disability.  And on that note, I'll introduce myself.  I'm a young-ish wife and mom of three, battling pre-teen-dom, potty training and autism all at once.  The aforementioned three months, three weeks, and one day ago, I received my label - the Parent of a Child With a Disability label.  Another world opened up for me that day, and by "world", I mean more along the lines of a yawning pit of denial and anxiety attacks.  At least at first.  I'm an information hound - my first instinct (after considering and rejecting the possibility of prescription assisted relaxation) was to gather information.  I wanted newsletters, I wanted blogs, I wanted how-to lessons...but found very little.  What I did find only served to depress me.  Where were the parents who had survived this with their sanity intact?  Where were the parents who were confident and capable, who didn't live a life filled with constant worry, sleepless nights and poor personal hygiene? While the first is yet to be determined, I can tell you that I'm a sketchy candidate for those other qualifications, but I'm plugging along.  This blog is my attempt to give a voice to autism - or at least a unique one.  Autism is, by turns, a number of adjectives - terrifying, isolating, bewildering, frustrating.  But it can also fill one with amazement, pride, hope, and humor.  Some days I am defensive and angry at this THING that I feel is cheating me out of truly getting to know my child as other mothers around me are.  Another day I am excited and slightly (okay, not always slightly) smug in recognizing a new direction my son's brain is taking ("Take THAT, neurotypical two-year olds!  Screw your talking in complete sentences, my kid knows his STATES!")  As parents, we have an ingrained need to keep that stiff upper lip, get the job done, sacrifice for our kids, and make it all look easy to the rest of the world.  The problem with this being that while everyone is busy pretending they've got it all in hand, it's easy to feel like you're the only one floundering.  Hopefully this blog will inject a little reality into what it's like raising a child with a disability.  Maybe this thing will end up being a diary, something I can look back at one day with my children - a testament to my typically developing children on how to handle (and sometimes how not to handle) life's curve-balls, and a love letter to my baby, letting him know that although Mommy didn't always have a clue what in the world she was doing, she put her heart into every effort.  Alternately, maybe it will take off and make me a blogging superstar and I'll go on talkshows and make lots of money that will all end up going to therapy anyway.  In any case, here we go.

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