April is Autism Awareness Month
Today is April 2. A day designated for autism awareness and acceptance of people with autism.
Almost exactly 10 years ago, autism entered my personal reality. It was a beautiful spring day. We (James and I) took our son, James “Jae” Franklin III to Richmond to see a specialist, a developmental pediatrician and well-respected research professor. He was going to confirm my suspicions that Jae was having trouble speaking and had a little trouble paying attention. Back in those days, I was so concerned about his speaking. I remember thinking “My goodness, being able to express yourself verbally is really important. People make assumptions about your intelligence based on your ability to articulate your ideas”. Boy, what I wouldn’t do to have only those concerns today. For certain, God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. If he did, I would have realized speech was the least of my worries and there was so much more at play.
After a decade of specialist assessments, doctors visits, therapist protocols and home exercises in ABA, speech, occupational, physical and sensory therapy; I’ve acquired a healthy respect for the tenacity of autism. Despite our efforts, it will not be extinguished. It pushes back hard on meds, rebels against comments that relegate it to always, never, can’t or won’t. It will not be silenced, underestimated or boxed into a diminutive label.
So often, I don’t understand. Yet, I know to accept my son, really love my son; I must accept autism.
Today, on April 2, I choose to accept autism. I lay down my dreams and expectations. Jae, I accept all that is you.