Baskin-Robbins boasts thirty-one different flavors of ice cream; Ben & Jerry makes around seventy-five. Jelly Belly carries at least fifty flavors of gourmet jelly beans. There is literally something for everyone in those companies’ dessert departments.
Parenting is no different. I know people who wouldn’t spank their children if the little tykes’ asses were literally on fire, and I know just as many people who could stand to spare the rod more often. I know parents who hover and smother, I know other parents who ignore their children so much that the kids are basically feral.
But when it comes to autism, it seems like there are a million different paths and attitudes. There are those who are vocal champions for the cause, there are some who speak of it on occasion, and there are some who barely acknowledge that autism is a part of their lives. We’re all different. But as long as our kids are being raised in loving and supportive environments, none of us is wrong.
I am a very smart-mouthed, down-to-earth person. I have very little patience for political correctness and I really don’t like tossing the latest buzzword or medical jargon into my daily conversation. That’s who I am. But that doesn’t make me a better or worse person than any other parent.
I “met” some other autism writers online recently and I was really awed by the differences in our respective approaches to autism. One parent is struggling to hang in there, but he has more than one child on the spectrum. Another parent is quite open about the fact that anyone who thinks autism is a detriment should just kill themselves now. I happen to fall in between, sitting squarely on the special needs fence.
Autism tried to steal my daughter. I don’t see it as a blessing, I see it as an obstacle to overcome. If I could wish my daughter into a state of normal or give her a pill that would make it go away, I would. That’s who I am as a parent.
The important thing to remember is that we all bring something different to the discussion. If you are one of the people who sees feels that autism doesn’t need to be cured, then you’re fine. You and I disagree, but that’s okay. Your opinion is just as valid and worthwhile as mine, and I will even help you find writers and bloggers who can share their insight with you.
The important thing to remember is as writers who focus on autism, we each have a different flavor to offer. Some parents will cling to my writing as a lifeline, others will think I’m so evil I shouldn’t be allowed to breathe the same air that they do. At the same time, there are people who might read another author’s posts and come away bruised and broken because they sought answers but instead were told that their children are just fine the way they are.
We all have a different flavor to contribute, and hopefully everyone will find the one that they love.