Here, Jennifer Cook O’Toole – “Aspie Mommy” to three young Aspie children and author of the forthcoming book, Asperkids – shares some thoughts about World Autism Day, celebrated every year on April 2nd.
I know there are families whose porch lights will burn blue on World Autism Day. There are some who will wear witty T-shirts, others may sign petitions or attend rallies – each and every gesture a vote of love and confidence. But around my house, World Autism Day will be “A Monday.” In other words, it will be a weekday like every other, filled from sunup (or beforehand) until long after sundown with Occupational Therapy appointments, definite routines, a meltdown or two, lengthy discussions on Greek mythology, zoology or Spiderman (depending upon which of my Asperkids is talking), and a dinner that looks an awful lot like the one I’ll have cooked the night before.
As the “Aspie Mommy” married to an “Aspie Hubbie” and Chief Operating Officer of our three Asperkids, EVERY day is a symphony of conscious choices, expenses and obligations that are my privilege to oblige. To us, supporting and celebrating neurodiversity isn’t a rally cry or Facebook cause. Celebrating Aspergers is celebrating Aspies. Always. In all ways.
World Autism Day is remembering to (patiently) fix my son’s socks so they feel comfortable, or taking the time to acknowledge his brother’s effort to not be the playground rule enforcer, or bringing their sister to karate so she can hone her motor skills and excel in a sport that doesn’t require teamwork. It’s remembering that my husband says “I love you” in a text because, happily, the thought crossed his mind – not because he’s being impersonal. And it’s telling another surprised someone that I’m an Aspie, too, and gently agreeing that yes, it does seem that the world has a lot to learn about those of us on the spectrum.
I may get a chance to wash my hair. I may not. I’m sure my kids won’t care that on April 2nd, I’ll be announced as an online magazine’s “Parent of the Month” for Autism Awareness month – but I’ll be proud to know it. I’m also quite sure I’ll be throwing in at least one load of laundry and encouraging someone to “use his words” rather than yelling. World Autism Day will be a day like every other: a Mommy’s-very-busy-and-in-sensory-overload-but-too-bad day in which I LAUGH at the craziness of my chaotic, complicated, blessed life. I will drive carpool and despair at Lego sprawl – content in my own hardwiring and constantly reminding my precious Asperkids (and the rest of the world) how very lucky we all are to have them here.
Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.