I’m not Sorry

Many times I have heard and read about how parents of children on the autism spectrum absolutely hate it when someone who has just learned his/her child has autism says, “I´m sorry”.

I don´t feel the same way. I´m actually grateful when someone has a polite or sympathetic comment to make when they learn my 5 year old daughter has autism.

Some people don´t know what to say and instead of being quiet they say things like, “I saw Rain man”, “she can talk, she´s not autistic”, “she looks so normal” and other things I really don´t like to hear, but a sincere “I´m sorry” is not something that bothers me.

I understand that some parents might feel the phrase, “I´m sorry” is a sign of pity and our lives are not to be pitied. They´re different but wonderful lives.

I don´t mind when they say this because I feel the same way.

I´m sorry she will have to live in a society that is not prepared to deal with difference.

I´m sorry she will have to live in a country where she will be seen as handicapped only because she sees the world in a different way.

I´m sorry she has to spend several hours a week going to therapy.

I´m sorry she has to miss classes to go to speech therapy twice a week.

I´m sorry she has trouble making friends.

I´m sorry she can´t enjoy games with other kids because she does not understand symbolic play the same way they do.

I´m sorry she can´t enjoy playing in the swings because she has proprioceptive issues.

I´m sorry she has strong issues with food and textures that don´t allow her to experience the pleasure of eating.

I’m sorry she is afraid to try new foods, she hates mushy food and will never experience the joy of eating a warm bowl of freshly mashed potatoes.

What I´m most sorry about this particular issue is how she is not receiving all the nutrients and vitamins she needs from her extremely limited diet, and how she has to take vitamin supplements, which she hates.

I´m sorry educating an child with autism is so hard in our country.

I´m sorry I had to take her out of her nursery school where she had friends and take her to a new place that is more suitable for her needs.

I´m sorry she will have to go to a different school than the one we wanted her to attend, because she needs a more personalized education.

I´m sorry she and her sister might not be able to attend the same school just because her sister is neurotypical and she´s not. I dread the thought of her being bullied at school when she grows up, just because she´s quirky and has trouble communicating.

There are so many things in her life I´m sorry about, but there are also so many things I´m not sorry about. Things I´ve learned from her that make me happy and proud of who she is and who she´s made me become.

She´s made me realize that I have more patience than I knew of. I’ve learned to cook fruits and vegetables in fun ways she likes and are healthy for her, so she doesn´t miss out on the pleasures of eating and gets the nutrition she needs.

I´ve discovered I have very little shame when it comes to making her laugh. I´ve done stupid, funny, ridiculous things just to make her smile that before she came along I would´ve never done in public.

She´s made me find physical strength I never new I had just so I can carry her in my arms even when I think I can no longer resist the weight of her 63 pounds, just because she loves it.

I´m not sorry for how crazy she is about birds and how she has made me look past my absolute hatred of them and be able to walk into an aviary and learn names and sounds different birds make

I´m not sorry how she makes me laugh until I pee in my pants,

for how much her sister loves and admires her,

for how happy she has made our lives,

for how proud she makes us every day as she conquers her fears and tries something new,

for how much she adores her father and calls him “my prince”,

for this and so much more, I´m not sorry.

Written by, Catherine Chadwick

Catherine (Caty) is a pharmacist who works part-time in a pharmacy and also uses her chemistry knowledge to cook delicious food and bake lovely cupcakes in her one-person-catering business. The rest of her time she dedicates to her family, her amazing husband and their 5 year old daughter with autism and 2 year old neurotypical daughter. She has a personal blog about motherhood and autism. She and her family live in Santiago, Chile. You can follow her blog at http://mamapulpoazul.blogspot.com/ or on Facebook.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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