Autism is a Moocher

Today, I read that one way I am damaging my children is by sometimes saying I 'dislike' autism.  This is just one of many ways I contribute to their future mental health issues, I'm sure.  I've reiterated on this blog that one of the recurring themes of parenthood is the requisite guilt. I honestly believe that parents contribute to the world economy by ensuring the continued health of the antidepressant and therapy markets.

Thus, I am contributing to the recovery of world markets.

I see parents who support this premise of damaging their children instead remark on their lives with sarcasm.  Instead of saying 'I dislike autism because we never fucking sleep,' they instead make a pithy remark on yet another sleepless night.

To me that is akin to saying 'Gosh darn, I hit a deer and my insurance is going up' instead of saying 'God dammit , that damn deer jumped out and left a fucking great dent in my car.'  It is the same statement, but said with the idea that you are offending God less by using profanity substitutes.  I'm pretty sure profanity substitutes are as healthy as sugar substitutes.

I follow Robert Rummel-Hudson ( on Facebook whose daughter was born with a brain malformation.  Interestingly, she has many of the same challenges my kids face.  She has trouble speaking and uses an AAC.  She has motor issues.  She faces bullying at school from students and staff.  She has seizures (which we have never had, but is a common co-morbidity of autism.)  She has named her brain malformation her 'monster.'

I don't know what the right way is.  I will try to let my kids address their autism in their own ways.  Isaac vacillates between calling it his super power and blaming it for all of his ten year old misdemeanors.

Nathan can't tell me yet.  I hope some day he can.

Until then I hold his autism responsible for many of his inabilities.  His inability to communicate.  His inability to control his compulsions, including the ones that threaten to set our house on fire.  His inability to sleep.  His inability to go out of the house safely without a supervising person even though he is a teenager.

Autism is not all he is.  And it is not all he isn't.  No person can be everything and autism is not the root of all evil.  He is a wonderful, caring person who watches out for another boy in his class.  He is a good friend.  He has a wonderful sense of humor.  He isn't a math wizard (in a family of mathematicians.)  He's a great listener.  He loves to cook.  He's a major snuggle buddy.

But I don't see autism improving his life.  We've given it time.  15 years to be precise.  And it's been like one of those mooching distant family members that you wish would get a job.  Start to contribute, instead of just living off your largess.  Clean up some of the mess it makes.


  1. Your kid and his autism are one and the same. Indivisible. There is no way to separate the autism from the child. When you say you dislike autism, you're saying you dislike your kid. That what you'd really prefer is a totally different kid - one that's not autistic.

    A little analogy. Let's pretend you're a happy, clappy evangelical Christian who believes homosexuality is a sin and your kid tells you he is gay. So you tell your son that you love him anyways - but hate the gay. You'll be praying it away. You'll be loving the sinner while hating the sin. Do you think your gay son feels loved?

  2. There's a big difference between identity and disability. Autism is not an identity by definition.


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