It’s a typical afternoon here in our household.
The girls are both crying and I am wondering why I haven’t chilled any beer.
Without a doubt, the hour after school is the worst one of the day. The girls are tired from having to hold it together and though I have mentally steeled myself all afternoon, I invariably lose my cool over the thirty-fifth screaming argument in the 10 minute ride home.
And though I know that soon all will be calm after the magic combination of soothing plus snacks plus bathroom trip plus show; I still consider running away from home everyday around 4:30.
Except for Mondays. Mondays are often THE WORST because I have worked in Calamity Jane’s classroom and been subject to a close up view of her paranoia and the way it makes her classmates pull back. And then there is the dreaded “Star of the Week” board with the birthday party and play date pics that CJ is never a part of. From across the room it taunts me as CJ cries and I rub her back.
But every other week, Mondays are the best day. Because both of the girls have in home therapy and are occupied for the not so happy hour.
To avoid my tendency to fret over wrong answers and slow progress, I sometimes escape to the basement during therapy where I spend a blissful thirty minutes surfing the internet. I usually lose myself in some random slideshow of funny pictures, most often from the parenting site Babble.
But today Babble did a number on me.
I should have known what was awaiting me, this being Autism Awareness Month and all. I have often joked that I want to write a post called “F*@k Autism.” Not because I hate Autism but because I hate the intense focus on it to the exclusion of everything else.
Actually, I should redefine my feelings as love-hate. I love that Autism has been brought out into the open. That it has changed the way the public things about kids “acting out.” I love that more research is being done on special needs because of it. I love that there are so many outspoken parents who have pushed to get funding for services and technology that kids, including mine, desperately need.
What I hate is that it seems to have pushed every other special need out of the picture. It can feel like you’re only special needs if you are on the spectrum or a serious physical/chromosomal issue.
And when I look at lists like Babble’s (which includes blogs not about Autism) the shadow of invisible disabilities feels even more cold. In a world where the joke is “every kid has a diagnosis” those of us with special needs kids are still fighting to have our kids’ needs legitimized. Please Babble, let our voices be heard too.