Autism,  Parenting

A Beautiful Mind, an Autism Mind

Most moms dread having “the talk” with their little boys. They dread the day when their little boy isn’t so little anymore. Well, although I’m sure I will, when the day comes, dread that talk as well. The talk that I dread most, though, is one that seems to be creeping up on me. It’s the talk where I have to tell this beautiful, blonde-hair and blued-eyed, boy, that he’s not like other kids his age. The talk where I have to tell him the reason behind his numerous therapy appointments. The talk where I have to tell my baby that he has a disability that will stay with him forever. The talk where I tell him he has autism.

He’s been starting to ask questions like, “Why do I have so many therapy days?” Or he’s saying things like,2 “I’m different/weird.” It’s so hard as a mother to see the kids not want to play with him, or the fact that he only has one friend. I know the conversation is fast approaching, and my heart breaks just thinking about it. The struggles I face in being an autism mama, are nothing compared to what my sweet baby will struggle with his whole life.

My husband and I started watching Parenthood on Netflix. In it, one of the main characters has a son who has Autism, similar to what our little boy was diagnosed with. It feels as if we are watching our life on the TV. We are laughing and crying and just holding each other because we get it. Well, there happened to be an episode where they were struggling with telling their son. The advice they got was to practice before actually having the conversation.

So here goes nothing.

My dearest son,

You are an incredible boy, with amazing skills. Your ability to memorize every fact there is to know about dinosaurs, is just one of the many things I love about you. The fact that you tell it how it is no matter what, is something to admire, when so many adults aren’t able to do that. I love that you can dance wherever you are. I love how inquisitive you are. There is nothing in this world that can ever change how I feel about you. You will always, to me, be perfect.

However, there is something about you that you need to know. It’s the reason you are so unique and special. My sweet boy, you have Aspergers, or what is now called autism. It is something you will have for the rest of your life. Nobody knows why you have it, or what causes it, just that you have it and it’s something we have to all learn to live with.

Your autism is why being in an over crowded place makes you nervous, and you act out in frustration. It’s why you have a hard time calming down, and even why you have a hard time recognizing emotions. It’s why social interactions don’t come easy for you, like eye contact and conversations. It’s why you sometimes say those funny things you say, or decide to start spinning around in the living room. It’s why you head-butt when you are over excited. It’s the reason why you are able to memorize everything about dinosaurs. Your brain processes information in a different way than other people.

So you are right, you are different, and you will always be this way. You will always have to work harder than other kids to remember how to interact with kids. You will have to work harder to control your anger and frustration. You will have to work harder doing your everyday routines.

I promise you though, we will be by your side the entire time. We will do this together, and you will never have to be alone. We will be here to calm you down when the zoo becomes too much for you. We will be here to answer all your questions. We will be there for all your therapies, and help you learn to manage and cope with autism. We are in this together.

You ARE different, but you are NOT less!!

106 Comments

  • GiGi Eats Celebrities

    My husband has autism and it can be REALLY hard… But we make it work through insanely good communication. I am blessed that he is very high functioning and brilliant, thus he is able to communicate exactly what’s going on in his NON EMOTIONAL brain! ha!

  • thevintagegypsygirl

    You radiate such love and tenderness to your children. You and your husband have educated yourselves and your son will greatly benefit from having two wonderfully supportive and educated parents when you all choose to talk with him.

  • tinybirdsnest

    I teared up reading this! My son is farther away from this talk, but it will come one day. He is 4.5 and still mostly scripts to fit the situation he’s trying communicate in. Through his diagnosis, I’ve learned I’m autistic too, as are many undiagnosed people in my family.

    We are very blessed to have a good circle of friends who love and play with him even though he still doesn’t talk to them. Thank you for writing about BOTH the gifts and challenges that come with being autistic, because there are just not enough parents who can see the gifts ❤️

  • parentingpatch

    My son has a severe-profound speech delay. We have been talking about his delay since he was diagnosed. He knows that he has to work harder to learn to speak, but, since speech delays run in my family, he also knows that he is not alone in his difficulty. Autism is also not uncommon, so I hope your little guy also realizes that he is not alone, that autism is part of the human experience.

  • alunderfullife

    I adore this post and the letter you wrote to your son, just as I’m sure he will treasure it one day. I had a student with severe autism and to this day he is the one student I make it a point to see each summer and talk with during the year. He made such an impact on me and the way I see thing. I can only imagine the impact your little boy will have on the people.

  • Danielle

    Oh mama I am tearful reading this. How hard this must be for you to have this conversation with your son. He is a beautiful boy and I’m sure it will be hard for him to hear that he is different from his peers but with your support he will take on these challenges with a smile!

  • Amber

    I love your letter. I can relate. My son has autism. I always tell him he was made this way for a reason. He can see the world in a different way. I love hearing how he thinks!

  • mrsyoungade

    This is such a heartfelt post, I felt so much love you have for your son with the letter that you wrote. You are right, he is different but that doesn’t make him less of a person.

  • Kiwi

    Wow what a beautiful letter you wrote to your son. I have a 30 yr old brother and come to think of it I dont think she ever told him he was autistic, he isnt on the spectrum he just is so I dont think he understands he is different anyways which is beautiful he is just him. If anything we are the off balanced ones and he is the normal one in his world.

  • lifewithzg

    I was crying while reading. We mother really loves unconditionally. And yes i agree, despite being different they’re indeed not less of a person. They’re blessed!

  • lavandamichelle

    Wow. Such a touching post. In my elementary school, they would bully the kids in “special-ed.” I felt like I was the only one who care and stood up for them. Everyone is human and everyone has feelings. Thanks for sharing! A beautiful post indeed. 🙂

  • Kristie Cirak

    I can only imagine how you are feeling. I imagined myself in your shoes and thought how I would daily with my worry. Im not sure I would handle it as well as you. Good job mumma 🙂

  • toastycritic

    I love the letter here. I am sure autism can be so difficult but you are speaking into his life in so many amazing ways. He will definitely appreciate this in the long run.

  • 4theloveofmommy

    Your son has the best advocate and loving mother he could possibly have. I can’t imagine how much is on your shoulders but it sounds like you are a strong momma and your son is lucky to have you

  • Melani Lukito

    I love this post. I agree with you: your son is different but he is not less. I also have a special need daughter. I was bleeding in my third month of my third daughter pregnancy. She have been learning slower than her sisters. She get an acupuncture therapy and the speech therapy. I don’t want to give up my hope that she will be an independent woman in the future.

  • Angie

    Nothing but tears and love in this post. Although I can not personally relate with autism, I can relate with ADHD. My oldest does not fit in- at all. He’s very gifted, very outspoken, but does not make friends very easily. Answering those questions is definitely challenging. You’re doing a great job!

  • Krysten

    You son is so lucky to have you as his mother. It sounds like you’re taking the right steps to make sure that he grows up knowing how to function in this world, and that is amazing. Good on you.

  • Remy

    I’ve been working in the Healthcare field and most of the time, I works with people autism. The more I work, the more I see how hard their life is. But in order to fight against the stigmatisation, we gotta learn how to validate their feeling, encourage them to get involved into the society and help them to get better in a daily living. Good luck and stay strong.

  • Stephanie

    Your letter is so well thought out, but you can tell it comes from the heart. My mom has been teaching autistic students for many years in both elementary school and high school, so I’ve seen children at all levels. All I know, from what I’ve seen and heard, is the kids who have parents who are willing to do anything as you obviously are, are the ones who still find ways to thrive despite the odds.

  • Amy-Lynn Denham

    OK, you made me cry! That was beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. It’s amazing how many people think that spectrum disorders mean a person doesn’t have emotions!! Sharing your story is a wonderful way to help increase knowledge. I hope he learns his true value and worth in this world. <3

  • Kristen Frolich

    This is such an incredibly sweet post. I have 2 little boys and I can’t imagine the stress you must feel daily. You are a very strong woman. Keep going mama!

  • reesa

    Your son is SO luck y to have a mom rooting him like you do. I work in a school and I have to say the children with autism just blow my mind with they know, achieve and how so very sweet and amazing they are!

  • Jessie

    I adore this! My niece is autistic and I’ve experienced all of this with her. She is the smartest little girl I know. Your son will treasure this letter one day! It’s written beautifully! You’re doing great!

  • Chad

    omg your letter, it made me so emotional. Thank you so so much for this beautiful post, and I can’t agree more with what you said, parents should talk to their kids about their condition because and as you rightfully said it you are different but you are not less!!! Can’t agree more.

    Chad
    http://www.mosaicslab.com

  • Angela Tolsma

    I can not imagine having this conversation. I know from watching my friend that after she explained things to her daughter with autism her daughter was relieved to have a reason for things and it made things easier. This is a beautiful letter to your son.

  • Rebecca

    Being a mom to a child on the spectrum has it’s ups and downs…but embracing who they are and helping them achieve all that they can is amazing! Loved the letter to your son.

  • Becca Wilson

    This is so very inspiring. I have a few friends that have kiddos and grandkiddos with autism. It truly is something that takes a lot of love and nurture but they are human beings just like we are and are capable of so much.

  • Amanda | Mostly Mojita

    This is just the sweetest thing ever. I cannot imagine the emotions you go through as a mother, but God honestly chooses the strongest of us. A very dear friend of mine’s son is on the spectrum and he is non-verbal. He is just the sweetest boy ever. Sending hugs to you and your family.

  • Liz Cleland

    I think we get so stuck on labels we sometimes forget we are talking about human beings? You are doing such a great job Moma just keep encouraging, loving and being a great example!

  • Emmeline

    That is such a beautiful letter! My heart breaks a little to know that he will have a hard time just because he’s different. Different isn’t bad! Different is different! Good to know he has you as a mom to guide & love him through it, I believe you will do a terrific job!

  • kumamonjeng

    I love the letter that you wrote for your son. We should learn to accept that everyone is different and understand, not just discriminate someone who looks or act differently from us. I see a great mother’s love for her child here. You are an awesome mom, life is not easy but please keep moving as there are a bunch of people behind you to cheer you up.

  • Catherine Santiago Jose

    This is such a wonderful post and my heart melts while reading your lovely letter to your son. I don’t experience what you are experiencing but I do understand and I do feel how hard it is for a mother like me facing this kind of situation. Maybe he is different but he is not less!

  • David Elliott

    It’s a beautiful letter. Definitely heartfelt and I am sure your son will appreciate it. I think eventually maybe get him the Rick Riordan Percy Jackson series. The gods in the story all had these things they didn’t realize were powers and their own kind of blessing.

  • Flossie McCowald

    Yes, he’s different (and please hear me out because I don’t mean to minimize this, or to discount what YOU and he have already been through) – BUT this also gives him unique strengths, and everyone’s brain is unique anyway – his is just especially unique in how it works compared to his peers. I almost get the feeling that *you’re* still coming to grips with this and seeing it as a “negative”? I was totally expecting to have one or more kids with a learning disability (or “difference” if you prefer), because my brother is severely dyslexic and we have tons of LDs in our family. He pretty much knew there was something “different” about him when he was diagnosed (which was pretty early back then – age 7), and my parents always made this out as something that made him DIFFERENT than other kids, but that was it. I think he even sees it as a strength nowadays (as I do, seeing where the coping skills he developed to end-run around his challenges have gotten him). SO – having said that, I also have to say that as a former teacher, all of my “Aspie’s” (as they called themselves) students were among the brightest in all my classes, and the most fun for me to teach – and the struggles they’d faced in school BEFORE they reached me in college, made them uniquely suited to excel. They had learned perseverance, grit, and so many other basic “adulting” skills that their “neurotypical” peers were often short on. So yes, he faces challenges and struggles – we all do, though his may be more common among those on the spectrum than within the general population – and yes it’s frustrating for him to have to go to therapy all the time, I’m sure (as did my brother); BUT, I hope you and he can also watch out for and celebrate all the upsides of the unique way his brain works! (GiGi is right – Aspies ARE often brilliant.)

    • itsahotmess04

      Oh, I absolutely love the way he sees the world and how his brain works. He is destined to be a paleontologist, you should hear the way he talks about dinosaurs. I mean he even corrects museum tours lol. I definitely take in all the ups and we celebrate as a family. It’s not just him who has autism, but the family. Yes, it’s hard knowing you’re child is going to struggle much of their life, nobody wants that for their child, but we embrace it and LOVE how unique he is. Now we advocate for him, his sister (also on the spectrum) and for all other kiddos. It’s the reason I am going for my teaching degree in special education.

      Thank you for your heartfelt words.

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