Mother speaks out on autism
By Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar Annie’s Mailbox December 11, 2012 2:26PM
Updated: January 13, 2013 6:08AM
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 20 years. We have two boys, and the oldest is non-verbal autistic. “Austin” can write, and he wears a talking device around his neck. He likes to shop and enjoys eating different things. But it makes me sad and angry when people stare at us.
I have had strangers tell me I shouldn’t take Austin out of the house, that I’m a bad parent if I don’t do a gluten-free diet and various other pieces of unwelcome advice. I know some people think we somehow caused this to happen, but we didn’t ask for this, and people need to realize what a miracle it is to have a child who is developmentally normal. We have one of each, and I feel blessed to say that.
Our society doesn’t offer enough support to families that are different. Our youngest son tries to make friends, and no one calls back. Support groups have meetings that are often held at times that don’t work for me, and worse, if you have different opinions about what causes autism, you are ignored. I will not give up hope that things can change, because we have come so far. Thanks for letting me vent.
Dear Sunshine: This must be so difficult for you. There is no excuse for people who are rude enough to criticize your parenting or have the nerve to suggest that the boy be confined to the home. Ignore them.
Professionals don’t know what causes autism. Some children respond to dietary changes, but not all. And we know that many people continue to believe that autism is a result of childhood vaccines, even though the original “research” is now considered questionable at best.
If the support groups in your area are not your cup of tea, please try the Autism Society of America (autism-society.org) or Autism Speaks (autismspeaks.org) for more opportunities to connect, perhaps online.
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