life as a mother to a son with autism

Dear life,

I didn’t see this one coming!  But, I laugh and smile.  You see life, you have a way of making things come full circle.  Back in the good `ole days, before kids and husbands; I would spend A LOT of time with some very cool women that are great friends.  They would have me laughing and crying about their work.  You see they were working all day with kids with autism!  I was clueless and sometimes shocked at the things they would share.  I never knew that during all those nights of wine, women and porch time that I was being prepared for life as a mother to a son with autism.

Thank you life for giving me amazing friends!  Oh, how I miss those nights that we shared together and I so wish I could have them back regularly. Almost a decade has come and passed since those days and now I have a new understanding and some really good stories to share and laugh at too!

I’m not sad for my son, I don’t wonder about his happiness or success, and there is nothing to change about him.  You don’t have to be “sorry” for me or for him.  We are good and happy.  However, I do have sadness, wonder and things to change.

I’m sad that other people (teachers, family, friends, and strangers) are so uninformed about what autism is.  I cringe when I hear: “oh, I didn’t know your son had autism. You can’t even tell.”  or when a teacher says he was defiant today .  So, my non verbal four-year old was telling you no, he didn’t want to do something?  No, my non verbal autistic son was probably trying to tell you something else that he needed but you don’t know how to listen.

I wonder when my son’s ASD label is going to mean access to the care and therapy he needs to learn functional skills.  My son is entitled to a free public education in the least restrictive environment but my school district doesn’t offer ABA therapy.  I wonder when the school will stop putting kids in centers based on a label/diagnosis and start providing the clinically researched treatment for kids with autism.  I wonder when I will be able to apply and have my son on a Medicaid plan to supplement my commercial insurance for all the therapy he receives.

I wish I could change people’s hearts.  I wish that more people had a heart that allowed for acceptance of people for their uniqueness.  That we honored what makes a person special not different.  That we smile and give words of encouragement to others.  So many times I wish I had a blue card or a card with a puzzle piece when I am in public.  I just want to leave a card or raise a card for autism.  It’s okay people, I got it, just letting you know it’s a meltdown not a tantrum.  We are working on it, good days and bad days.  Or just a card for the stranger that asks my son questions over and over.  What’s your name? How old are you?  He’s just shy…bye!


Thank you life for giving me my son and the journey that comes with raising him,



One Comment Add yours

  1. Julie Boyle says:

    Wonderfully written, Ruth!!! I sure miss the porch days of drinking wine and laughing til we cried!! You are an amazing mother. Every time I see you (which is rarely now!) I feel like we haven’t missed a beat. But I amalso in awe of the mother you’ve become and what an optimistic, devoted advocate you are for Max. Never the victim or “poor me” from you! Attitude is everything and Max is lucky to have you! XOXO


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