O is for Onwards
Onwards. Moving on. That sounds easy, doesn’t it? The truth is, moving on gets easier the more you move on. There will always be bumps in the road, hitches along the way, but once you start the momentum, it gets easier. Somehow, bouncing back gets easier the more bounce you have.
A little over a year ago, I wrote this post lamenting that a school wouldn’t accept Pudding. It was the first time she’d been rejected because of her autism, and I was crushed.
We are about two and a half years from the time Pudding was first diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. In the early days, I wouldn’t have been able to move on from such a rejection. I’d have taken one person’s opinion as proof that the world will always be an unwelcoming place for my girl.
Even last year, I took that initial rejection as a defeat. Now…it is a negotiation. If a school can’t accept my child, they need to say why. We can find a way to provide support, if they can provide acceptance. If a school can’t, or if fear of Autism is the only reason for exclusion, it isn’t a place that looks at a child as an individual. It probably isn’t a good place for any child. Certainly not for mine.
I’ve been thinking about this as I talked to a friend about how I was beginning to feel uncomfortable in the direction an online support group had turned. I appreciate that, like the autism community as a whole, this support group is divided. I don’t expect everyone to hold the same opinion as I do, but I find it increasingly hard to read about autism depicted as a disease. Or to hear about expensive and untested treatments as the epitome of being a “warrior mama.”
I’m not a warrior. I don’t need to fight a battle. We are diplomats, finding a way to negotiate the obstacles that we face.
We can’t expect schools, and society as a whole to include and accept our children, if we as parents aren’t ready to do that as well. Like many other parents, in the early stages I found my daughter’s diagnosis was overwhelming. I grieved for the loss of a life I expected to live, and struggled to accept the changes that would come our way. I was stuck.
But all along, right in front of me, was a child who was always developing, just in a different way to what we expected. Once I realized that she was moving on- I could do that too. I didn’t need to hold on to grief. I didn’t need to find radical ways to eliminate autism from my child. She isn’t broken, or diseased. She is human, whole, happy. She is loved.
Pudding has taught me a lifetime of lessons in her 5 years on this planet, but most of all, she teaches me to keep going. To let nothing stop us- to always find another way. Now the very doors of a school that were once locked to us, are wide open in welcome.
There is another way, and we’ll find it together. We just have to keep moving onwards until we get there.
This post is part of my A-Z series. You can find the rest of the entries by clicking >here<.