Learning and Living with Autism: Confessions of An Autism Mom

Two years ago my son was diagnosed with Autism. Unlike most moms, I was happy that we were getting a diagnosis. He struggled for a couple of years in preschool and had the worse Kindergarten year.  Prior to the diagnosis, we received a ton of brushing off and disbelief that my ‘normal’ looking son could possibly be Autistic. Well with this diagnosis, I was finally getting answers and help. Without the diagnosis he was labeled as difficult and defiant. Throughout my journey, I’ve had to face some obstacles and emotional set backs. Here are some of my confessions and truths on my experience with Autism.

Autism makes you socially awkward.

Because of this, I force my son to participate in activities knowing that he will be ridiculed and isolated because he can be awkward. I always pray that his peers accept him, include him and show him grace.

Autism makes socializing an extremely anxious affair. 

It is a must that my son is exposed to as many social activities as possible. However, the truth of the matter is my son is awkward, he invades people’s personal space, he spits when he talks, and he doesn’t seem to notice when he makes his peers uncomfortable. As much as I hate it, it helps him to become more aware and engaged in his surroundings. Sometimes I’m not sure if I should even waste my time because he’s typically playing alone or hanging around me.

Autism makes me volunteer at school and field trips out of guilt.

I know how difficult and frustrating it can be to deal with an over emotional child. So to thank the teachers for not calling me every minute of everyday, I volunteer for school events and field trips and bring in supplies. My hopes are that this will bribe and guilt his teachers into giving him more grace.

Autism requires me to keep secrets.

Any and all trips or birthday parties or activities that are not part of the normal routine is a complete surprise. This keeps me sane and keeps my son from freaking out over change.

Autism strips me of my confidence.

Sometimes I wake up feeling like an ill-equipped and unqualified mom. I cry in the shower so that no one hears me. At times I get so tired that I quit. Sometimes I feel so lost and overwhelmed that I can’t bear to make a decision out of fear of making the wrong one.

Autism keeps me up at night.

I can’t help but wonder if my son will be ok. Did I make the right decision? Am I doing enough? Did I say the right thing? Did I hurt his feelings? Should I homeschool him? Does he need more services? Is he receiving too many services? Am I doing all that I can do to make sure he has all that he needs?

Autism is draining our bank account at an accelerated rate.

Autism is a very expensive diagnosis. It comes with a slew of therapists, evaluations and social skills group. There are special tools and gadgets to invest in to help my son manage appropriately. There are special rugs and hats and toys. This is all to enrich his life.

Autism is a time suck.

Did I mention the therapies and doctor appointments? Social Skills group? And lets not forget the time it takes to deal with an emotional outburst.

Autism made me brave.

I have no option but to be brave and courageous for my son. His future is dependent on how well I advocate for his needs. I have to believe in myself and my qualifications as a mom and advocate in spite of my fears and doubts.

Diana was born and raised in Miami, FL. She is Haitian-American and fully embraces her Haitian culture. She completed her undergrad at University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida in Sociology and her Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Troy University. She is a Mental Health Counselor for 4 years helping children and families with their mental health needs through individual and family therapy. She has been married to her husband Andre for 10 years this December. They have 3 handsome sons; 8, 4, and 3. Their oldest was diagnosed with ADHD and Autism. She has learned to become a voice and an advocate for her son to ensure that he continues to be successful at school and throughout life. She is also a strong advocate for Autism Acceptance. They spend their weekends together as a family going to church and engaging in other activities.