“Mom, where’s my backpack?”
I kiss his head as he passes by and off he goes.
Crap. I forgot to tell him to check in with the social worker.
Oh well, I’m sure he’ll track him down sometime during the day.
And thus, Day 6 of full-integration at the junior high begins.
I dare to say that it’s going well.
Sean is apparently getting from classroom to classroom without any problems. He’s changing for gym. He’s even beginning to navigate the hot lunch line in the cafeteria.
Even still, I am fraught with worry.
The worries are not consuming or debilitating like they once were. I remember those years when I would almost break down the minute he entered the school doors.
What would happen today?
Who will not understand him and his behaviours?
What will be said to me when I pick him up?
Will they tell me that I need to be a better parent?
Will they tell me that my son is not autistic but simply a behaviour problem?
It’s difficult to forget those days. I wish I could say that it was all due to ignorance because autism was not yet the household word that it is today.
Unfortunately, through this blog and my Facebook page, even being out and meeting people, I’m learning that those things are still being said to parents.
Do we not have enough to deal with?
Do we not have enough of our own thoughts and guilt to work through?
I was told that my son was autistic because I was going against God’s will by using fertility treatments.
I was told that if only I had taken my son to restaurants and “socialized” him more that he wouldn’t be like “this.”
I was told to put him in daycare, get a job and spend less time with him.
I was told to discipline him more.
I was told so many things… and so many of them were negative.
At least now you know why I would sit at my kitchen table day after day, paralyzed with worry, crying and feeling like crap.
Why was there so much blame when Sean would have been better served in those early years if they had simply helped him instead?
I don’t know.
And I don’t know if parents of children with other disabilities have such outward cruelty steeped upon them.
Because it really was cruel…
And it still happens…
Like I said, it’s difficult to leave those days behind.
It’s difficult when things go awry and that parental self-doubt seeps in.
Were they right? Should I have put him in daycare and not spent so much time with him?
But then I think… Sean’s been putting on deodorant without being reminded for the past few days.
A two (or is it already three?) year endeavor in the making…
Whatever the time frame, it appears he’s finally doing it.
So to all the professionals, the former friends, and the family members who said all those things…
I must be doing something right.
It’s deodorant. A baby step. But still a step.
So give me some credit for trying my best.
Give me a hug because you could never know my world.
And give me understanding instead of blame.
Because I did nothing wrong.
And what I have… a wonderful, amazing, quirky, story-telling, funny, brilliant young man…
Is a gift…
And if you can see something wrong in him or me, then I can only wonder if you can see the wrong that’s staring back at you in the mirror.