A couple days ago my son’s ABA told me about a local support group that meets near me… I made a face. I couldn’t really put it into words, why I had no desire to go to a support group.
Then, yesterday, a blog post pops up in my feed that summed it up perfectly.
You’ve heard the line, “If you met one kid with autism, you’ve met one kid with autism.” Same holds true for the parents. And you don’t know that when you’re new here. You open your life to all kinds of parents just in an attempt to find people. It won’t take long to realize that having a child with autism doesn’t mean you’re going to gel with every other autism parent. Don’t look for people… look for your people.
In the beginning I stumbled across eGroups. Yeah… I’m that old. Hear Their Silence was the group I joined. I still have great friends from those days… and I’ve fallen out with some of them, too. Onelist bought eGroups, and soon Yahoo bought Onelist. Yahoo Groups. Most of them are still there. You can read all our messages –and fights, going back over a decade. Then we moved onto Facebook. Which I love so much better than email groups and lists. You get to know your people even better. They are more real when you see the picture of their martini at 10 a.m. or the cute photo they just snapped of their kid using the dog’s butt as a pillow. We love facebook.
Oh, we get shit for being on it too much… but here’s the thing… the chance that YOUR people all live within 5 miles of you is slim to none. Not when it comes to the particular struggle that binds you –autism. My people are scattered all over the country and globe. How else can we connect on a daily basis?
I did meet one mom in Publix a while back and we hit it off immediately. I knew she was one of my people as soon as she started looking over the food in my grocery cart –and then I lost her number. Babe, if you read this… HIT ME UP!
This morning I was reflecting on the struggles I am having finding appropriate doctors for my son right here in Fort Myers. I need doctors who understand why I don’t vaccinate. I need doctors who understand that my son is not his “autism” diagnosis –that he has medical issues that can be addressed, medical issues that cause the appearance of autism. It is an anxiety inducing struggle. I thought of the support group. Maybe I should go. Maybe I’ll find one person like me… maybe. Maybe I will find that mom who knows exactly which doctors for me to call.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a visual way to identify each others autism “philosophies”?
Now, I’m pretty good at reading the energy of people and knowing who I will click with the minute I interact with them, and that can be online, over the phone, or in person. It’s rarely steered me wrong… but still… My mind immediately went to those misguided teen girls who wore different colored jelly bracelets to let people know what kind of dirty dirty sex acts they were down with (OK, misguided… kinda brilliant…).
This is the shit that entertains me… Green for antivax. Purple for clean diet… It made me laugh, anyway. All before my first cup of coffee.
Finding your people doesn’t mean you have to close yourself off to those whose kids have a different diagnosis than you. My best friends have kids who are way higher functioning than mine. Some have Asperger’s not Autism. Some of their kids are 4 and some are 24. It’s not about the struggle… and DO NOT judge the struggle based on diagnosis. That’s nonsense. It’s about finding parents who share your philosophies, or some magical mixture of love and respect for them –that even if you don’t share philosophies, you are still friends. Find them, and connect with them. So I second that blog post above… Find your people.
I think I might go to that support group. I’ll be looking for bracelets 😉
I’ll be looking for Babe!
–Oh and as for the rest of my bitches, I have declared that I AM going to AO this year. See you soon!
This song of my people: