Autism is a life sentence. For all involved.
Far more severe than any you could ever serve in prison.
It’s one in which you will watch the love of your life struggling to cope with everyday situations.
Unlike any terminal illness, you will know there is no end – which is a blessing, yet you are cursed with contemplating who will care for your loved one when you no longer walk this earth with them.
For as long as you live, you will be bombarded with often ridiculous advice usually from well-meaning individuals with no prior experience with this devastating stumbling block.
You will take your child to never-ending therapy sessions held by professionals who have no idea what autism truly is.
And you will hold your breath and wait in hope.
There will be others who ask you what your child’s special gift is – as though all individuals with autism harbour some sort of magical power.
You will grow tired. Of mankind. But never your child.
The words “he will talk, he will grow out of this” will form the most irritating sentence you have ever heard in your life.
That, coupled with the urge from everyone around you to take your child to religious organisations to pray for them to be cured will close to drive you insane.
If a religion could cure autism, I’d be the first one to convert! Sign me up! Because I’m not avoiding prayer because I’m anti-faith, I just don’t have time to uphold a belief in something which doesn’t work, you try finding the time for prayer between autistic fits, changing grown children’s diapers and keeping them alive in general!
Not to suggest that divine intervention and prayer doesn’t work, but rather than advising a mother of a disabled child to pray, why don’t you do it for her if you believe that’s the cure!
Autism has a way of making you question what you could ever have done so wrong to bring a child with such severe disabilities into the world.
It’s almost like a punishment. A beautiful. Unrelenting punishment. But you accept it. And you serve your time with love and gratitude. Even though you have no idea what you did which was so wrong to deserve this life sentence for your child.
Autism is the painful reality that you wake to every morning. And the torment you are sometimes blessed to escape every time you fall asleep.
My mother always said I was “Notorious”, but now I have the life sentence to prove it.
None of this, however, can prepare you for the day you hear the words “your son has brain damage”, but that is an experience to share with you another day.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments.