As an autistic adult who hopes to be a parent someday, I have mixed feelings about this article.
Reading articles by nonautistic parents of autistic kids often makes me feel a little bit weird. Lines like “having a child with autism is a complete heartache” hurt a lot. I wasn’t nonverbal as a child but I also wasn’t good at communication which led people to believe that I wasn’t taking in as much as I was. I’ve known from a fairly young age that my mother has grieved for what she hoped her daughter would be. I’m not what she wanted and even though I know that she loves me and is proud of me for the things I have accomplished, it is still hard having never been able to meet her expectations. In some ways I have hope that the next generation of autistic people will have it easier, but there is still this perception that our lives are a tragedy. I’m fairly certain that having the thought that we’re a burden or that we will never be what our parents wanted ingrained in us from a young age is a major factor to why our suicide rate is so damn high.
I want to be clear that I don’t think that you’re a bad parent, it’s very obvious that you love your kid and want what’s best for him. I also understand that parenting an autistic kid has extra frustrations attached because being autistic has many extra frustrations attached and everyone wants their kid’s lives to be reasonably easy. I just hope that you don’t say things around him that let him know that you think that being his parent is a heartache or that your disappointment that he may not do things that you expect from him is “comparable to grieving for the death of a child.”
Here is an article by an autistic that really helped me heal from some of my childhood and one that I think all parents of autistics should read:
Don't Mourn For Us
But this grief does not stem from the child's autism in itself. It is grief over the loss of the normal child the…
I also would like to suggest a few articles about ABA since you mentioned that in the article and every mention of ABA anywhere makes me cringe:
My Thoughts on ABA - Autism Women's Network
So. Uh. Lovaas said this, in his 1981 book, The ME book. This is where Lovaas first spelled out ABA. "With…
I Abused Children And SO DO YOU: A Response To An ABA Apologist
This was written in response to this article which was written in response to my first article…
This is a re-blog of a blog post originally made on 7 October, 2014. An edited version of this essay appears in the…
It is clear that you love your son and I’m really happy for your breakthrough in communication. RPM is one of the few autism therapies that I’ve read about that really makes sense from an autistic perspective and I really wish it was more common so that more breakthroughs like your sons could happen. I wish you the best of luck with his continued progress!