Today is the day. After months of waiting, we’re taking our eldest son to his autism assessment.
I awoke after another restless night. I think it’s become the norm and started writing this on my phone. I’m not filled with the dread that I imagined I’d feel when we got to this day, rather a kind of marble cake of exhaustion and curiosity, with a light icing of anxiety.
The last few months have been challenging, but nonetheless fruitful. We’ve seen a great improvement in our sons’ speech after a few sessions of speech therapy. We’ve stopped watching television, except for the odd movie night or distraction while we power through some chores.
The more we see progress, the less I’ve become worried about everything. But the ease is yet to make it’s way into my sleeping. I think too much. I can’t stop my brain.
See, I’ve been thinking about this whole autism thing. In a basic sense it’s a condition where someone is good at some things and not good at other things. Maybe a little more extreme – master thinkers, but need a little help with, say, communicating with others.
Now, is that an affliction? Why is it such a huge deal? Why does it equate to a stigma of disability rather than ability? What’s the deal with a negative label?
Picture a kid who’s really good at, let’s say, sports. Not the most well-spoken or brightest amongst children his age, but he can shoot hoops like a machine and swim hundreds of meters effortlessly. Let’s label the affliction of being physically talented ‘Autism’. And attach the negative connotations and stresses and stigmas that that word brings. Yup, needs to go to a special school, he’s not good enough to be around regular kids, must be relegated to social outcast status. Hmm. Now doesn’t that sound ridiculous?
To be honest, right now the word Autism to me sounds like this:
Fuck a label. My son is awesome.
I tucked my son into bed the other night. I hugged and kissed him goodnight, and feeling overwhelmed by the day I whispered, “everything is going to be fine… Because nothing is even wrong to begin with. Goodnight son.”
“Goodnight son.” He replied. And fell asleep with his arm around my neck.
Our son blitzed his hearing test recently, despite lacking sleep and an appetite, being sick and feverish the night before. He can read and spell quite well, and counts beyond 100. He loves numbers and letters, he can sing the alphabet backwards. He’s a great block builder and has his parents’ eye for design. He remembers where we are when driving to most locations. He remembers license plates, and who they belong to (especially his uncle’s car ‘SNUSNU’. He will laugh at that one when he’s older.)
If anyone tells me that he deserves a label because he’s good at some things but not others…
Maybe they need a laser beam to the face.