The weirder things about autism

Some weird things about autism

It’s one of the few diseases you suspect is because of something you did 

No one wishes they had spent more time talking to their baby because it might have prevented the mumps. No one wishes they had showed their child fewer episodes of Baby Einstein because it may have given them a degenerative disease. No one worries that vaccines gave their babies rickets.

But how many time have I wished I had stronger eye contact with her when I held her in my arms after she was born? I've lost count.

How many times have I wondered if I shook her too hard after bundling her up lie a burrito and carry her around the living room for a half hour, the lights down low, whispering shh, shh, shh, and she just stared up at me with silent wide eyes, eyes as blue as the deepest part of the ocean, eyes you could tumble right into. But what if the eyes were saying, stop shaking me, please, and I never read the signs?

And how many times have I thought to myself, if I had just seen the signs a couple of years earlier, then she would be so much farther ahead of where she is now.

The things other parents pray against, you dream for

With an autistic kid, you’re always paddling against the current. Your night isn’t filled with dread of the day boys show up  at your front door to take your daughter to the movie. You have visions of it.

Other parents may prepare a man to man discussion with a suitor, in advance of her first date. They may want to set the stage for fear, to let the boy know that you do NOT approve of what is about to happen here. Other parents may want to let him know that the only thing separating that boy from you and a trip to the hospital is the good laws of our state, and the suspicion that he might not be a complete loser, but that is still to be proven.

Other parents, but not me. My preparation is simple. I will open the door, take a deep breath, open the door, then say to myself, don’t say anything stupid to screw this up.

People treat autistic kids the same way they treat foreign travellers who don’t speak English

My daughter speaks the Queens’ English. She has autism, not a hearing impediment. Speaking slowly and loudly works on old people, but not on autistic nine year olds. They may have difficulties with communication, but the have little problem assessing someone as a complete idiot. So beware. They may not be responding to your condescension because they don’t understand you, but because they don’t like you.

You're always thinking that you can do something today that will start to cure them

The worst part is thinking there’s a cure. The worst part is thinking that, even as you watch them descend, even as you watch the gap between them and their classmate widen, the worst part is thinking that there is a key somewhere that will unlock her potential.

So you never stop looking for it. Maybe that’s a good thing, but it wasn’t all that great for Sisyphus. But I guess we all have our rocks. We all push our own boulders up the hill.

We all think our boulders are larger and heavier than others.


  1. I never thought of autism that way. That gives me a whole different view.

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