My Top 11 Benefits of Having a Kid w/ Classic Autism
January 30, 2012
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Now Reading: My Top 11 Benefits of Having a Kid w/ Classic Autism
January 30, 2012
(originally written & published on January 30, 2012 when my son was 9 years old)
As you all know I often rant & complain about my fickle mistress Autism and how she gets in the way of my son making any significant progress. (yes Autism is a she 🙂 If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that Autism and I don’t get along too well. I don’t like her too much and she doesn’t like me too much. Autism and I fight a lot and she wins a lot of those fights. I win a few once in a while, like potty training. But every once in a while we need to have a truce and evaluate things and try to look on the bright side so we don’t kill each other… 🙂
Hence today’s list…
My Top 11 Benefits of Having a Kid with Classic Non-Verbal Autism
I GET GREAT PARKING SPACES…
I’ve written about this before but in case you STILL haven’t heard, you can get a handicap parking placard if your kid has severe autism and has no sense of danger and is in danger of running into traffic. For more info about this click HERE.
Anyway, with your handicap placard you great spots at movie theaters, supermarkets, amusement parks, Home Depot… as long as you have your kid with autism with you. 🙂
Woo-hoo! Yay autism!
I GET TO CUT TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE AT AMUSEMENT PARKS…
Most amusement parks give kids with disabilities a pass or wrist band that lets you skip to the front of the line. We’ve successfully done it and Sesame Place and several Six Flags parks and I’ve heard amazing stories of asd families being treated extra special, like kings at Disney World and other Orlando parks. At the parks we went to we were told to wait by the exit to the ride and alert an attendant and they would let us right on. Did we get some dirty looks? Yes. Did I care? No. And some asd parents will say it’s important to teach our kids that they have to wait like everyone else. I say, life is hard enough, take the perks when you get them…
I APPRECIATE THE SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE…
I doubt any of my friends with typical kids appreciate sleep as much as the wife and I do. I also appreciate having a DVR full of my favorite shows ready for me & the Mrs when we finally get Kyle to sleep each night. And we appreciate a night out more than most parents. Even something as a good burger cooked medium well is a thing of beauty…
WE’VE GOT A BUILT IN EXCUSE TO BE LATE…
Ok sometimes my son Kyle is the reason we are late to places due to any number of things (meltdown, feeding issues, etc)….but sometimes mommy and daddy are just spazzes and lose track of time.
And when we show up late somewhere, especially a family function, and folks will say “what happened? Why so late?” We will throw Kyle under the bus and whisper “somebody had a rough morning…” and motion towards Kyle. Everybody nods understandingly… NUFF SAID…CASE CLOSED 🙂
I TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED…
I really try to notice & appreciate the littlest teeny tiniest milestones in my son’s life. If you’ve read my Autism Daddy Facebook Page for a while you’ve read me revel in the fact that my son for the first time tracked the dog with his eyes while she ran around the backyard. Or celebrated my son getting potty trained (for the 3rd time). Or playing with the Ipad appropriately by himself for 30 minutes straight. Or trying a new food with a different texture. These are miniscule milestones in a typical parent’s life and in the grand scheme of things may be small milestones in Kyle’s life, but they are worth noticing & celebrating…
WE GET SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AT THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE
When we are going to a new doctor who doesn’t know us and Kyle, the wife will call in advance and tell them about Kyle and how hard it is for him to wait a long time. She will also ask that any forms we are supposed to fill out get emailed or faxed to us in advance so we are not in the waiting room trying to fill out forms. When we get to the appointment, if both mom & dad are there one of us will wait in the waiting room while the other hangs with Kyle and will call the other when it’s our turn. When the wife has gone solo she has checked in and if there is a wait she has asked the receptionist to call her cell phone when it’s Kyle’s turn and then they wait out in the minivan watching dvd’s…
(we only do this with “normal” doctors. If it’s a doctor who sees lots of special needs kids, we will wait our turn and take our lumps…)
SOME TRULY AMAZING PEOPLE ENTER YOUR LIFE
When you enter this autism world you meet the most AMAZING people. Of course we’ve become good friends with a lot of the autism moms & dads in our lives, and yes they are amazing. But even more amazing are the people who CHOOSE to work with our asd kids. I didn’t CHOOSE to have a kid with autism. It just happened and I’m dealing with it as best I can. But the people that care for our son every day? The teachers, therapists, aides… Most of them CHOSE to work with kids with Autism. For most of them this is what they wanted to do with their lives. And to me that BLOWS MY MIND. I mean y’all know what our kids are like. Most of these people should be up for SAINTHOOD! And then I run into a few autism moms that change careers after their kid’s diagnosis to become autism teachers or social workers working with asd families. To me they are the most AMAZING of all! To have autism at home and then go to work and deal with more autism? How? God bless you!
I DON’T HAVE TO BUY THE LATEST TOY / VIDEO GAME…
My kid isn’t superficial. He doesn’t whine that he doesn’t have the latest Wii system. He doesn’t sit on Santa’s lap at Christmas time with a laundry list of things he has to have. He is extremely happy with the same books & toys he’s had for years. He rips / destroys his copy of ”Brown Bear, Brown Bear” and he gets a new one as a gift from an old friend. His toddler cash register gets lost and his Grandma buys him a new one. In fact, the wife will rotate old toys in & out of his room and he is thrilled when an old favorite is brought back into the mix. (Toddler toys are still HUGE in my house.)
I’VE BECOME A BETTER MAN…
I was 33 when my wife gave birth to Kyle but I feel like I’ve grown up and matured so much in these last 8 years. I’ve learned more about autism then I ever thought possible. I’ve learned more about the law then I ever thought possible. I learned more about schools and districts and bureaucratic red tape then I ever thought possible. I learned how to stand up & fight & advocate for myself and my kid. I’ve done more adult/ responsible things that I never would’ve done (like completed my will). I evaluated myself and realized that I needed some help to be a better father & husband. All in all you could say that Autism help make me a better man…
WE CAN CURSE LIKE SAILORS…
I’ve written this before. The wife and I both have potty mouths. We curse a lot and we have a very bawdy sense of humor. And yes, we talk like that in front of Kyle sometimes. He is non-verbal, but the wife and I would be thrilled if his first words were “Will you motherf&$kers shut the f&$k up?”
I’M REACHING PEOPLE IN A WAY I NEVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE…
I would never have had a Facebook Page or written a blog if my son didn’t have autism. And I know I’ve only been at this “writing” thing since April 2011, but I feel like I’ve gotten so much out of it. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve gotten some great advice to help my son. And from your feedback I’m feeling like I’m helping some of you…which is still MIND BLOWING. I don’t know where this Facebooking and Blogging is heading in the future, but I’m sucked in and along for the ride. Hook, line and sinker…
And I’ve got my fickle mistress Autism to thank for all of this… That bitch! 🙂
Written byFrank Campagna
I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).