Our Views On Autism
To bring it to you straight...
We view autism is a superpower, not a disability. Yes, it has it's difficulties that require patience, a lot of patience : ) But we have found a true peace and joy with Matteo we never knew could exist. In humbleness - our growth has skyrocketed because of Matteo and in ways we never imagined. In our experience, all people with autism have superpowers it is just a matter of locating them.
"Austim is just another way of being. Not less than, just another way. There are things I like, and things I don’t like. This place online is my way of sharing my unique point of view on many things. Thank you for coming here, it means a lot to me." – Matteo
For my husband, Mark and me, it was a long and windy road to finally have the miracle of knowing our son, who he is down deep. For the last twelve years I have been saying in my head; “I know my son the best. He does this because of that,” or “he would rather, blah blah blah.” I was truly doing the very best I could to understand his likes, dislikes, attitudes, desires, needs and wants – all without his use of the spoken word!
I was told over and over by professionals, that autistics (the term Teo uses, so I’ll use it, too) have a hard time communicating. So, from day one of Matteo’s diagnosis at age three, I got this stuck in my brain. My brain had pigeonholed communication into the tiny space of speech. I found I was not the only one who had fallen into this hole. The rest of the things my son would do would be given other names like behaviors, stims, isms and responses. Now, I finally know they are all communications. Come to find out my son is a communication expert and the rest of us are the ones stuck in the pigeonhole! It’s really difficult to see from in that hole and it wasn’t until I found the strength to climb out into the light, that I have been able to truly understand.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, easy for you to say. You can actually communicate with your son, I can’t.” Trust me, I get that. I had read beautiful autism stories online or in the news and it was always someone else’s “success story,” not mine. I was at home experiencing quite a different world.
At the beginning of our autism journey, I was given books written by parents of people with autism sharing their journeys. I’d eagerly open them, read the first chapter, but be unable to continue. The detailed emotional descriptions and life changing sorrow of their child’s transformation into autism was just too much to bare. I couldn’t read someone else’s experience which was all too similar to my own pain. What I really wanted was someone to grab my hand, look me in the eyes and tell me that everything was going to be okay. That life was just taking a really unexpected turn but that the journey was going to be extraordinarily good. I longed for any assurance that there would be light at the end of the tunnel and that I wouldn’t feel this way for the rest of my life. I craved honesty about our son’s potential that pointed to real hope.
Well, that is what I hope you will choose to find in this message, from one loving parent. Because guess what? Everything will be okay. This journey of parenting an autistic child can be one of the most extraordinary experiences of your life and it will be even more beautiful in ways you never imagined.
– Annette Musso, excerpt, Handbook of Us: Understanding and Accepting People with Autism