What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story, email me.
My child is diagnosed under the Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is a lovely little 5 year old. At first meet you would not probably be able tell that she has ASD. But she does have her quirks. She is considered high functioning and is integrated into a regular classroom. But she has some developmental delays, socially and verbally. Sometimes when she is agitated, upset, and can’t get her words out right, when she is not happy about leaving a friend that she is playing with she may cry inconsolably. Sometimes, she takes her frustration out on other kids and will step on some poor unsuspecting kid, or even tug on some hair.
Please know that she is not being malicious about it. Please know that her parents are good, hard working parents who have nearly emptied out their savings to continue intensive speech therapy because our government’s health insurance program is so twisted and coverage is so limited, if any is served at all. Please know that these same parents do not condone her actions when she gets this upset and have and continue to try to teach her more normal coping skills. Please also know that these parents feel pain and embarrassment when it happens.
It doesn’t feel good to be looked at with an irked face when you don’t know the full story. It doesn’t feel good to have to feel like I always have to explain about my child (I am slowly realizing I don’t always have to). She may have taken really long to potty train, and she may still have her night time issues, but it does not mean she is faulty and it does not mean we are lazy. We did not lose out. We have our own set of challenges, but doesn’t everyone? Do not feel sorry for us, but do not judge us either. What I want you to know is that my child is beautiful, she is great. She is smart, she is a good child, she is happy, she experiences love, joy, sadness, and she is a full human being. That’s what I want you to know.