Autism Overload and Elephants in the Room, Pt 1
Photo Credit: Jerome von Oostrom at www.freedigitalphotos.net
Autism is part of life for guest blogger Sarah Broady and her family. But sometimes her concern for her son with autism oozes into every facet of her life. In the first post in her series about autism overload, she describes how autism is always on her mind.
Autism Overload and Elephants in the Room, Part 1
Autism Overload on Facebook
I had my Facebook page open on the computer recently and my husband needed to use it. He scrolled through and noticed the autism pages that I like and follow. Some are small groups I’m a part of made up of only parents of autistic kids, some are faith/autism centered, and some are pages just like mine that are personal pages about families living with autism. “Wow. You have a lot of autism ‘stuff’ on here.” His next comment hit me in a funny way. He said, “You just can’t get away from it, can you? You can’t do something without autism being involved?”
My response? No. Not really.
I bet that whatever is most important to a person is most talked about and represented on their Facebook news feed. Mine does include lots of autism posts and memes. Wanna know why? Because autism is kind of a major deal in my life. My son is autistic. That is not something I can ever get away from.
Autism Overload on Dates
My husband and I have been on at least one long getaway together, several overnighters, and many dates alone while parents and friends have blessed us with babysitting. While my mind might off the kids while watching a movie or spending time with my sweetheart wherever we are, autism is still there. I wonder how Sam is doing. Autism moves to the forefront when I get a phone call asking how to handle a meltdown when they’re in Target and he wants a toy that was over the budget I had set for him. (The answer, by the way, is to just give him the toy. It makes everything so much smoother for everyone involved, so long as he shows appropriate behavior and calms down before being obliged.)
Autism Overload Every Stinkin’ Day
The point is, I am usually thinking of autism for a good portion of my day. Every day.
I have this blog so I can get those thoughts out of my head. I’m writing a book, so various themes and ideas run through my mind and out into one of the many journals I keep for brilliant idea-writing. As I scroll through my news feed, I read the struggles of other parents–mostly moms like me. Of the fifty+ autism articles, I typically read a few. The articles jump start my thinking on that particular topic, or reminds me of something else about autism. That leads me to talking things out in my blog, or in a few sentences on Facebook to get a conversation going.
Autism Overload When I’ve Had Enough of It
Despite all of this, I (sometimes) don’t mind all that much. Don’t get me wrong here. It doesn’t mean I like it. I still have my moments when I have just had ENOUGH of autism. Then I call one of my good autism mom friends, and we talk about how we’ve had enough of autism. Even in doing so, we’re still talking about autism. Because it’s part of our lives, and it will not just disappear. All we can do is try to cope the best way we can. We try to talk about other things, but we can only ignore the elephant in the room for so long. We can’t chat long before one of us whips out Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy for our son in the middle of the conversation. We don’t even say, “Hold on.” There’s no time. We just start talking to our kid while the other person realizes they are no longer being listened to and waits patiently. Because we get it. And then we laugh, and we sigh. . . or cry. . .
Do You Understand Autism Overload?
Can you relate to Sarah’s situation? If so, leave a comment about when autism overload invades your life. And come back tomorrow for the rest of her post about autism overload and the elephant in the room.
Autism Overload and Elephants in the Room: Part 2
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By Sarah Broady
Sarah Broady and her husband have three boys. Their second son is autistic. Sarah is an autism advocate and has spoken to state capitol committees to secure better services on behalf of families living with autism. Her greatest joy comes in being an encouragement to other parents who are walking the same road she is walking. She blogs about their life raising a son with autism as they hope and delight in God at Hope in Autism. and interviews people involved with disabilities and special needs at A Special Hope Podcast. She is also writing a book that gives hope in Jesus on the special needs path. She speaks at Christian-related special needs events to reach parents on a more personal level. You can contact Sarah through her blog or by email at email@example.com.
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I hear you, Brenda. It’s good that you recognize that answering questions about how he’s doing can be monopolizing. I’d be interested to hear how other parents deal with this. Any ideas out there?
I too am always thinking about autism. But at this stage (my son is 22) I can actually forget it for periods of time. Sometimes I dread the moment someone asks me how my son is doing. There is never a short answer that is the truth. So I have to decide if I really want to tell them or just give the ‘pat’ answer so I can move on to a topic that is actually interesting to all parties involved in the conversation. But I tell them how my son is really doing I tend to monopolize the conversation because it is never a short explanation.