Saturday, March 23, 2013

Putting the Awe into Autism

There are many times every day that I wish I could give my son a pill and make his Autism go away.
Not him, just his Autism.
The bit that makes him scream in frustration when I can't clean an invisible smudge off the computer screen.
Or the neural misfire that means I have to follow him to the loo in case he eats the toilet paper.
Or the part that makes him liable to down his keks and pee in the church car-park (he has astonishing aim).

Lots of parents feel guilty for even thinking this, never mind expressing it, but some perverse part of me enjoys airing my mental dirty laundry and exposing it to daylight.
You could call it therapy, if you're kind.
(I just call it dumbass lack of social etiquette.  You can see where the Autism comes from)

these are my actual knickers

Recently I came across an article that found that a drug used to treat sleeping sickness was found to have a positive effect on autistic traits in mice (mice have Autism??? how can they tell???).  You can check it out here if you feel you've given birth to an unusually large rodent.
Finian (and therefore everyone else) was having a bad day and my immediate thought was can I order a truckload of these mofo's NOW???

I know I'm putting myself in the line of fire from many autistic people and their families who feel that Autism is not just part of who they are, but is integral to who they are.
Many people argue that Autism is not a disability and to treat it as such is disrespectful   But from where I'm standing, it's pretty damn disabling when you have to spoon-feed a child who's almost 9 years old.  And check his bum to make sure he's wiped it properly.  And develop ninja reflexes, honed from years of ducking to avoid head-butts and back-handers.
So if a drug was developed, that was shown to be safe and effective, I'd be Queen Queue in Queue Park Central, wearing my crown and waving my prescription at my loyal subjects.
I don't think I'd be alone  either.

But it occurred to me that there's an aspect of my son's Autism I'd miss.
He doesn't have the same filter buttons the rest of us have, so he doesn't tone down any of his emotions.
When he's angry, he makes the Incredible Hulk look pale and uninteresting.
When he's excited he turns wall-bouncing into an Olympic event.
But when he's happy he turns that knob up to 11 in  true 'This Is Spinal Tap' style and joy spills out from him  in a wild and wonderful flash-flood.
I like his polarized emotions and I kind of envy his ability to freely express himself  without shamefully fearing what the Whisperers may  say behind their hands.
Maybe that's evolution.
And maybe I would think twice before joining that queue.


  1. Something HAS to be done about those autistic mice!

    1. I mean, what do they do? Throw a tantrum if the cheese isn't cut correctly? XXX

  2. See you don't need to be autistic to have unfiltered emotions: Smiley has them too :)

    1. Every time I see a picture of Smiley my day just gets better XXX

  3. His joy is exceedingly joyful. I understand what you mean about joining that queue though, those poor mice have had enough.

    1. Y'know, I probably wouldn't have the patience to queue anyway XXX

  4. I'd beat anybody to the front of that queue, personally. I'd shove that pill so far down my kid's throat so fast... you have no idea. It's gotta be better than the antipsychotic he takes now to help control his behavior.

    I enjoy the joy my son has when he's happy, but mostly I'm relieved he's not *un*happy 'cause that's really bad.

    I really appreciate your blog and I'm glad you've started writing again. It took me a minute to figure out what "down his keks" mean, LOL.

  5. I think there'd be quite a few people on that queue! I can totally undertand why people would consider it. Maybe people make the comments about Autism that they do because it helps them handle the Autism in their lives? And that's fine but there seems, to me anyway, to be a tendancy for those taking the seemingly higher moral ground to look down on anyone who doesn't? Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to be respected. Thank you for sharing yours so honestly and respectfully :-)

    xx Jazzy

  6. Well, I for one would be joining the queue with you! I recently read a blog about a two year old nt boy... and all I could think was my boy can't do that! Having autism makes life hard for him. Kudos to you for writing this post.