It’s some sort of national or international or interplanetary Blog About Autism day, and this is in response to Autism Speaks, who pissed off a lot of people, some of whom have autism, and some who don’t, because the founder posted an article. I’m too lazy to link it, but the gist was, “People With Autism are Not Actually People, Parents of People with Autism are Actually Dead and Nobody Has Bothered to Tell Them.”
Sometimes, when Flower wants something, even if it is something very, very small, she will scream and yell and howl as though she is in the Worst Imaginable Pain. She’ll be screaming and howling and I’ll say, “Flower, what is it? What’s the matter?”
“I want Dora,” she’ll say. “I want Super Babies.”
The howling, see, the howling like she was in the Worst Imaginable Pain, that was to draw my attention to her plight that she wished that her iPad was playing Dora, and it wasn’t. Without the howling, I might not have paid attention.
I think that is what Autism Speaks is doing with this post that got so many people mad. They are howling as though we autism parents are in the Worst Imaginable Pain in order to get some attention.
I hope it works. We could use some attention. Easier access to services? Sign us up! Insurance has to pay for stuff? Heck, yeah! Spend more money on education, early intervention and services? Sure! Free cookies for my friends? I’m all for that.
Meanwhile, can I just brag about Flower? Flower is almost 7, and she is just now starting to eat solid food. You hear me? SHE IS STARTING TO EAT SOLID FOOD!! We’ve been working on it for a long time with this amazing feeding therapist in another state, and Flower has been eating solids willingly enough for rewards, but she has finally started to choose solid foods over pureed foods. Yesterday, she ate her first meal ever that was made up entirely of solid foods. She had canned vegetables and pancakes. I was all ferklempt. I was a wreck. It was amazing.
When Flower was first getting diagnosed, her wise teacher said, “You will celebrate all the small achievements.” That is certainly true. Flower works so hard, and she does amazing things. A year or two ago, Flower’s feeding therapist told us that she might “never” eat solid foods. (I used this pronouncement as an excuse to console myself by buying a Vitamix. ‘Cause, you know, we were going to need to puree stuff! Lots of stuff! Then we started seeing this other out of state therapist and Flower started eating solids and now I’m stuck with this Vitamix, STUCK, and forced, FORCED, I tell you, to make smoothies and pretend ice cream out of frozen bananas.)
Of course, nobody is allowed to use the word “never” where Flower is concerned, because Flower is a surpriser, and she likes to surprise us all by doing stuff when we least expect it. And then we celebrate and we put on “Freeze Dance” from Fresh Beat Band and we all dance around the house laughing – Curley too – And I feel full of joy. So yeah. Scream and yell and howl all you want, Autism Speaks. We know we’re happy and weird here, and we have nothing to prove.