My Autistic Son Isn’t Giving Me a Hard Time

I read a quote a while back, at a pivotal time in my life really, that read…

My child isn’t giving me a hard time…he is having a hard time.

We had just finished up with an incredibly hard day. One that involved being out in the community. A ‘place’ that can feel scary to families like mine sometimes.

Our son is autistic. He has autism. He was diagnosed at age 3. Back then so much of his diagnosis felt like a mystery, one that we were so desperately trying to understand.

In the beginning though it was easier for a lot of reasons.

He was smaller for one. His needs were pretty simple. But the big one was…people gave us grace. They offered us kindness and compassion when they saw our toddler struggling.

But as he aged, and his pants and shoe sizes got bigger, the kindness and compassion seemed to fade away.

People saw a boy. A tween. One who appeared to be naughty. One who didn’t listen or sit still. Who ran and rolled and struggled to calm his busy body.

What they didn’t know is how hard he was trying to understand a world that wasn’t made for him. They missed that part.

They didn’t understand that he couldn’t communicate. That his body couldn’t slow down. And above all, it wasn’t his fault. He wasn’t acting bad. He was just surviving.

Anyhow, on this day, we weren’t given grace. We heard snickers and felt the eyes of strangers staring. We had to leave and our exit wasn’t pretty. I think I felt 2 inches tall by the time we made it to the car.

On the ride home, I felt frustration with my beautiful son, with autism, with strangers, with myself, and with the world.

And then that quote…’My child isn’t giving me a hard time…he is having a hard time’ appeared on my phone.

I felt like I was seen and heard and validated for the first time.

It’s changed the way I parent and the way I choose to live my life.

It’s made me a better person.

My autistic son isn’t giving me a hard time. He doesn’t want to wreck my day or our family event. He is trying his hardest. And so are we, his family. We are trying to navigate some really hard stuff and we have all learned to go easy on each other.

When we know better…we do better. That’s all we can strive for.

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 our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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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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