talking to my mom about autism

here’s a brief intro to some discussions i’ve had with my mom that i think others could relate to or learn from. my questions are bolded, her responses are in normal font, and if i have something to say about her response i noted it in italics.

what was your reaction when i told you i was autistic?

Well honestly my first reaction was I did not do a good job at being your Mom. I have thoughts that if we knew or had any type of idea that we could have reached out to the autistic community for guidance, help and recommendations. I was very sad that I had failed you.

you definitely didn’t fail me and you’re definitely not the only parent that feels that way. de-stigmatizing autism is so important.

had you ever considered i was autistic before i was diagnosed?

I would have to say no but looking back maybe some instances should have. Your determination for your clothing to feel and fit a certain way. I did talk to the pediatrician regarding you when you were just a baby. She gave me the book “the difficult child” to read. Honestly that did not really work on you, (worked better on your father). I just thought you needed a little more attention and extra care than your siblings.

you did an insane amount of advocacy for us in school, do you think an earlier autism diagnosis would have helped or hurt?

It would have helped. I would have advocated for any and all services that fit your needs. My job is to try my best to give you the tools to succeed in life. To have you grow up to be an independent, self-sufficient, productive and kind human in society. I know you are all those traits, I just wonder if it would have been more manageable or easier to understand if we did it a different way for you.

i have said before that i don’t think it would have benefitted me to get an earlier diagnosis; atleast during elementary school; i worry that given the ideas surrounding autism and early intervention at the time (early 2000s) i may have been restricted by an autism diagnosis. but honestly who knows-it doesn’t really matter now.

what do you want people reading this to know or understand?

That I am so proud of the person you are. I am so sorry for your struggles, if I could take the hurt away from you I would in a second.

~the end~

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