It’s official…my 16-year-old daughter is on the autism spectrum. This is not really a surprise since for the last several years we have been to OT’s, special schools, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. So why announce this out loud now…because its for my own mental health.
When raising children, you will do whatever you think is best for them. You love them, teach them, hug them, encourage them, etc. And as your child grows, develops, and becomes more of an adult, you hope that you have done everything for them to become a positive person entering society. But as all parents know there are curve balls thrown once in a while that make you lose sleep at times. Ours has been that our little girl, who is now sixteen, is going to have some struggles that she will have to deal with for the rest of her life.
That sucks. I will say that out loud again….that sucks!! I know there are bigger issues in the world but this is my little girl. This is something that has affected me, my ex-wife, and her 13-year-old little sister. We always held this thought that “she will grow out of it” as she aged and in reality, it’s starting to look like the struggles are just beginning as she gets older.
As other kids develop around her, she is still stuck at times at a younger age. Now in this title, I said “slight” autism. That was not to downplay her mental health but that is what she has, slight autism. Basically, she knows she has issues. She understands that she cannot do the same things as other people. She sees it when people make fun of her. She wants to “be better” but struggles mentally to get to that point.
For her, I think its actually worse to be slightly autistic in the fact that it’s like living in a bubble that you cannot break out of to join others around you. She is trapped in her mind and then add depression issues on top of that, it gets scary because she feels everything. It’s like putting food behind a glass wall with a hungry person on the other side who can see it, smell it but cannot touch or eat it.
For those outside her sphere, it can be extremely frustrating. At times you think she is doing something on purpose to garner attention. But in actuality, she is mentally impaired, and as a parent that is hard to accept. But that does not mean we will not do everything possible to make sure she succeeds in living an incredible life ahead.
So what is the real reason for writing this today? First, to those parents out there that have kids with different mental or physical issues, I feel you and I applaud you for doing the best that you can for your children. The second reason is probably to say something that I have never said out loud but am starting to use now. My girl has autism.
Now on with life!