For me, being the parent of a child with Autism (actually, let’s use “Autism parent,” for short) feels like walking a tightrope.
I imagine being a parent to anyone probably feels like that sometimes. Trying to balance who they are by nature with what the world expects of them. What they desire to do and be with what is “socially acceptable.”
For example, as my husband and I are going through various channels to get Emily services, I start to feel twinges of guilt and worry. How much is too much?
At what point does it go from trying to help her to trying to change her?
Like most parents, I want my child to be able to function apart from me and her dad. The reality is, parents aren’t here forever. No one is. However, do I ever want her to feel like we think she needs to be “fixed?” Certainly not!
As I walk the tightrope assigned to me as an Autism parent, I sway.
A breeze blows, tilting me to the “Autism power!” side, where I feel like Emily is part of a culture with a heritage and history all its own. While I’m tilted to that side, I long to dance with my daughter down the route of an Autism pride parade (to my knowledge, those don’t actually exist).
A breeze from the other direction knocks me into the “defeat Autism now!” mentality, where this is something hurting my child and I want to see it DEAD! No, not dead. I want it to suffer. Badly. I want Autism to be so afraid of me that it never dares coming near my family again.
While tipped in that direction, I start researching diets, supplements, and theories (both sane and… not so much). I start reading and watching stories of people who’ve supposedly “overcome” Autism. I start feeling even more guilt than I do on a normal basis, as I read lists of all the harmful things I’m letting my child drink, eat, watch or do.
I become a “warrior.” I take up my sword and shield, ready to do battle!
… then the wind shifts.