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Autism Took a Day Off September 29, 2008

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Children, Family, humor, Parenting, special needs.
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Happy to report that autism took yesterday off! 

We decided to go to the fair as a family of four, despite all the potential “cons” on the list. It did take forever to get there, it did rain on the way, it was crowded and muddy…

And it was freakin awesome!

Somewhere during that long drive, or in that large crowd…we lost our autism!

Our son was great in the car. He ate nicely when we stopped for lunch. He walked nicely at the fair, either holding a hand or right beside one of us–never darted away even once. It was so cute to see him bury his little nose in my shirt as we’d walk past stinky animals or garbage cans. He was good while Mommy looked at her exhibits. He was good while we looked at his and his sister’s exhibits.

And he won 3 blue ribbons of his own! 

His face lit up when he got his plain snowcone. He didn’t need or miss the neon-colored sugary syrups that other kids pumped over their cones.  He sat there eating his plain ice chips like it was the best treat ever made! Moments like that live on in my mind forever, like a snapshot.

He was happy to sit in the wagon and watch the big rides that his sister went on, choosing not to go on any himself this time. I’ve learned not to try to push him to do things I think he should–or that “typical” kids would–when it’s just not that important. (Flashback to the forced carousel incident of 2 years ago-Yikes!)

He was happy just watching the rides and the people playing the rip-off games.  So I sat there with him for about 30 minutes…hugging, talking, sharing cookies and juice, making him quietly repeat “I promise not to grow up to be a “carnie”. Until a carnie came over to us.

This huge man with a grin to match walked over, and while handing my boy an inflated Nemo, said to me: “I can’t take it anymore. You two are so beautiful.” Seeing as I looked like death…as usual…you might imagine my surprise. And while my own mouth hung open for what felt like an eternity, my son made a perfect moment even better by saying “Thank you so much!” without skipping a beat! Making my jaw drop yet again! 

When my husband and daughter returned and we were ready to leave the area, I walked over to that carnie and thanked him again, adding that his kindness was especially appreciated because my son had autism and couldn’t really handle the games or rides just yet. Don’t you know that guy grabbed another toy for him! (Yes, I was a jerk to rag on the carnies.)

The fair was coming to a close. We had a peaceful carnival meal on a sticky, slanted picnic table that threatened to send us and our food rolling down a very big hill. ‘C’ sat for his meal. He sat while we retrieved our exhibits and ribbons. He was a trooper when it came time to pee and change into pajamas for the long trip home. He crashed during a Dora DVD and transitioned to his bed smoothly.

I’m sure autism caught up with us somewhere along the way, but at least we dragged its ugly butt home from the trailer hitch.

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Comments»

1. asdmommy - September 29, 2008

You know, I saw your other post about thinking about going to the fair and was going to comment on that one! I have exactly the same worries and concerns before going to something like that. It seems like it’s either a disaster or wonderful; there is no middle ground.

But then you posted this, and obviously it was wonderful! I’m so glad. What a great day!

2. tiredmama - September 29, 2008

After reading your last post, I’m so glad that the fair turned out so well. We have the same struggle with going to events. Your post just reaffirmed that they can turn out well. I’m so glad that you had such a wonderful day! 🙂

3. hopeauthority - September 30, 2008

It’s so good to hear that everyone else has the same struggle. My hope is that as time goes by, public outings will get easier and the wonderful experiences will far outnumber the disasters! And if we’re really lucky, we will all look back and laugh about the disasters…or better yet, maybe we’ll forget them!

4. Erin - October 2, 2008

Way to go “C”! 3 blue ribbons! Glad to hear your day was a success for everyone.

5. athenivandx - November 18, 2008

Autism never takes a day off. Perhaps your son thought……..something is right, I can PROCESS whats happening and therefore behave. Sensory Overload took the day off; either that or your son sensed your anxiety and worked extra hard to keep SO at bay.

But autism never takes a day off. We’re autistic 24/7, and nothing and no one can change that.

You have very good intentions, but you need to start thinking about things differently……using less exclusionary language……and trying to treat autism like it’s a birth mark that can be removed…….it’s not……it’s like the color of your eyes……unless you happen to have a condition in which your eyes can change color according to your mood, you cannot naturally change your eye color.

I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way. Quite the contrary. Because I have respect for your effort, I’m trying to guide you better…..on how to THINK about and TALK about autism and other things.

Ivan and The Integral

6. hopeauthority - November 19, 2008

I don’t mean this to be disrespectful either, but maybe your autism makes you read things in a more literal way than I intended.

I, and all the other parents raising young children with autism, know very well that autism never really takes a day off. I was referring to those delightfully easy and rare days when our kids act like typical kids. And life is just a bit easier for all of us.

I can imagine it must be disturbing to be an adult with autism and to hear all the talk about trying to “cure” it. Its probably insulting. And I apologize for that. I know none of the parents who post here would mean to be hurtful.

I appreciate so much when autistic adults post here so we can learn from you and help our own kids. But you need to understand that we love our children completely even though most of us do want their lives to be easier and our lives to be easier…and we see that happening by making every effort we can to move our children as close to mainstream as they can be. Life is hard and is designed to accomodate typical people. If they were closer to typical, they will likely have easier lives. We live in fear of whether they will grow up to be independent or to find love, have friends, hold meaningful jobs. The things you can do, but our kids may not.

Being autistic, you understand a lot, but only a parent…and only a parent of a special needs child… can really understand what we are going through. So when I say “autism took the day off” those parents know what I mean.

Autism is part of our kids and since we love them, we love every part of them. Yet we still want their lives to be happy and easy and from where we are standing…looking at an uncertain future…we’d be lying if we didn’t admit that we wish we could take away the burdens and obstacles that come with autism.

7. athenivandx - November 20, 2008

Points well taken……….cannot respond to everything at the moment……but I hear you.

I am literal, you’re right. Good for you to call me out on stuff RESPECTFULLY. I really appreciate that and I’ll try harder to do the same for you and other parents.

The Integral


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