Sunday, November 17, 2013

My contribution to the "This is Autism" Flashblog

This blog post is my contribution to the This Is Autism flash blog. 

We read every label. 
We avoid foods that upset him. 
We supplement with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, secretly hidden in his juice boxes  
We stress about his diet. 
We worry about whether he will eat lunch. 
We bulk buy the half dozen foods that he enjoys, only to wonder why he won't eat them. 
We cover every food imaginable with peanut butter, in hopes that he will cave.
We avoid restaurants, knowing there will be nothing there he will tolerate. 
We rejoice in every new food he tries and reward him with praise and love. 

This is parenting Sammie. 

We follow a strict bedtime routine. 
We hope every night that he will follow it too. 
We watch him on the monitor, hoping that he will stay safe. 
We cringe every time he sighs and moves in his sleep. 
We settle the baby who woke up when he cried. 
We wonder why he can't seem to calm his body. 
We agonize over his exhaustion when sleep goes awry.
We struggle with whether or not we should use a sleep aid.  
We haven't had full night's sleep since he was born. 
We celebrate every time he sleeps through the night. 

This is parenting Sammie. 

We dim the lights. 
We monitor noise levels. 
We plan every outing, carefully scanning the environment for triggers.
We cut off tags and cautiously select fabrics. 
We wonder where his shoes and socks have gone. 
We built a dark, sensory room. 
We built a fun, gross motor room. 
We bought a trampoline, a swing set, a slide, an indoor hammock. 
We stock up on toys that he will never play with.
We hope he might change his mind. 
We wonder when our house became a jungle gym.
We follow a sensory diet, and regret when we get off track. 
We hold him when he breaks down because it's all become too much. 
We agonize over his meltdowns, and are filled with guilt and regret. 
We have gotten injured. 
We have watched him injure himself. 
We accommodate the needs of his body. 

This is parenting Sammie. 

We analyze every movement. 
We wonder if it is developmentally appropriate. 
We laugh when we watch him spin in the kitchen.
We feel exposed when he does it in the mall. 
We tell people that he speaks with his body. 
We reenforce that behaviour is communication. 
We offer alternatives to busy his hands. 
We know that we are judged. 
We want him to express his joy. 
We wish he could do it with words. 
We seek out people who "get us". 
We surround ourselves with people who get him. 

This is parenting Sammie. 

We seek out his eyes. 
We relish every look, every smile, every laugh. 
We constantly try to keep him engaged. 
We are overcome with guilt when we can't. 
We are thrilled that he has friends who love him. 
We know that we are very lucky. 
We worry that, soon, they won't understand. 
We are scared that they will abandon him. 
We are terrified that he will be lonely. 
We wonder what he is thinking. 
We wonder what he is feeling. 
We wonder what he would say, if only he could say it. 
We manage out expectations. 
We understand that the future is uncertain, for him and for us. 

This is parenting Sammie. 

We research GPS location devices. 
We have the police department programmed into our phones. 
We walk a fine line between over-parenting and allowing him to grow.
We want him to feel safe. 
We wish he understood fear. 
We know that water is his favourite friend. 
We know that water is our enemy. 
We know that he loves to explore. 
We lock all the doors. 

This is parenting Sammie. 

We feel his love in every hug and every kiss. 
We hear his love in every song. 
We believe that every word is a gift. 
We bear the responsibility of managing the world. 
We know he can not manage it without us. 
We seek out answers to mitigate his negative symptoms. 
We encourage him to explore and expand on his strengths. 
We count our pennies. 
We budget for unforeseen expenses. 
We see doctors, therapists, specialists, teachers. 
We are overwhelmed with information.
We juggle the needs of both of our children. 
We wonder if we are failing him. 
We wonder if we are failing her. 
We love our son for who he is. 
We do not try to change him. 
We try to understand him. 
We try to help him. 
We wonder if we are. 

This is parenting Sammie. 

We cherish every day.
We think he is the most interesting person in the world. 
We tickle him until he cries from laughter. 
We snuggle and watch Shawn the Train. 
We hold hands while walking down the street. 
We babble back and forth in the car. 
We stare adoringly as he plays with his sister. 
We cheer him on when he punches in karate. 
We love to take him swimming. 
We love to take him to the play gym. 
We love to take him everywhere. 
We read stories. 
We trip on trains. 
We shake our heads in amazement at everything he can do. 
We speak his language. 
We know that he understands ours. 
We hang his artwork on the fridge. 
We play peek-a-boo. 
We sing silly songs to him. 
We go along with his silly jokes. 
We are proud of him every day. 
We know that there is nothing he can't do. 
We look forward to the future. 

This is parenting Sammie. 

We cry. 
We celebrate. 
We analyze. 
We grow. 
We learn. 
We spread awareness. 
We support each other, and others like us.  

We struggle.  

We thrive. 

We do so much more than merely survive. 

This is parenting Sammie.

We can not tell you what Autism Is.

We are not Autistic.

We are the supporters, the cheerleaders, the co-advocates, the friends, and the family.

This is parenting Autism. 


  1. This is SO REAL. I love it. Thank you for writing this.

    1. Thank you for reading! This was a real eye opening project for me. I learned that I spend a lot of time trying to stay 'neutral'- explaining to be people the wonderful aspects of our life and of autism as a whole, while still wanting them to understand the unique challenges we face because of it. It's a balancing act.