This is my creed, as the parent of a child with autism. I’ll just tell you now–I already know a lot of ASD parents would disagree with me on some of these, but this is what is meaningful in my experience. And, particularly during Autism Awareness Month, I believe it’s important for the voices of the individuals to be heard. So.
I believe in my child’s ability to understand and learn, and that his struggles are real–even if they’re invisible to me.
I believe that I will fail sometimes in my attempts to help him, but what’s the alternative? To stop trying? Because I can’t picture that. I’m trying right now to picture that, and I’m having heart palpitations.
I will pray for my child to see God.
I believe it’s not psychologically unhealthy to believe I had a responsibility in his condition. I’m not self-loathing or self-pitying. And I don’t want you to take this to mean that I believe parents cause their children’s autism (because no). But if I knew during pregnancy, infancy, and toddler-hood what I do now, I’d do some things differently. Do I know if those things would have changed his outcome? No. But it’s stuff I chose not to do, and I accept this responsibility, whether it’s real or not, because I need it when I get careless or lazy. You might not need it, and that’s cool with me. I just do.
I believe my son suffers tremendously from living in a world that doesn’t speak his language. I have hope that this world will validate his struggle and simultaneously accept from him nothing short of excellence.
I believe my son is a hero and a living icon of perseverance.
I have hope that he will be functional in the world as an adult.
I pray I’ll know what to do if he’s not.
I am determined not to spend much time looking too far ahead.
I will read books by the church fathers, by the saints, and by ascetics, because they put balm on my aching, desperate soul.
I will actively instruct my other children to exude compassion and reach out in love to people nobody else sees.
I believe my children love each other, regardless of their strengths and weaknesses.
I believe my son loves people.
I believe he loves you, and doesn’t define you by your faults and mistakes.
I believe he loves me.
I know I love him. How could I not?