April is Autism awareness month, and for us it’s really just another month. Except for Karter it means his diagnosis is a bit more talked about on a regular basis.
April 3rd at Karter’s school was Autism day, the students were asked to wear blue to support Autism awareness. Karter wore his Captain America Autism shirt.
At home we openly discuss Karter’s diagnosis and how it affects our lives. Never in a negative aspect, just that it does mean things are done a little differently. Karter mentions them on occasion. “Mom my friends would be in bed right now, but I just can’t sleep cuz I have ADHD and can’t stop jumping” is something along the lines Karter would say at 1030 at night. Granted this isn’t every night, we have a pretty good routine now that’s taken us 2 years to get in place but he’s asleep by 930 at the latest now. Which for most kids his age is late from my understanding.
My whole family is on board with Karter’s diagnosis, which does help a lot. I can’t imagine having someone or people who are just utterly against everything I say and do as a parent because they are close minded. I tread lightly when disciplining Karter. Which can be hard for some people to watch, but good thing they aren’t Karter’s parents.
Karter’s emotions are extremely heightened, therefore any emotions he feels can sometimes be exaggerated or under exaggerated for that matter. I can often tell when Karter is feeling a specific way because he just has this look, and he’s very quiet. I don’t ask him whats wrong or to talk. I just sit with him and not mention it. This is what works for him, and when he’s ready he talks.
He’s gotten so much better at expressing himself too, he will often say now “mom I dont want to talk about this” which is fine, sometimes its not fine. But I accept it, most of the time my heart just wants to help him feel whatever he is feeling but thats not what he needs in that moment so I have to put my own feelings aside and be what Karter needs me to be. That’s probably one of the hardest things, is putting aside my own feelings and thoughts and letting Karter just feel and be. I don’t get to sing happy birthday to him, or ask him how school was, or even just hug him without asking. But that’s how he is, and I accept that. And do things on his page.
But, back to the school thing. This week my kid was a freakin’ rock star. His teachers came up to me this week and let me know that Karter told his class what his autism is to him and how it affects his life. Karter told them he doesn’t always like hugs from strangers, and he doesn’t always like sharing his thoughts, feelings and even toys. This may seem so small and not important. But this is huge, Karter doesn’t always share his thoughts at school, but he did and about something so important to him. His teachers were so impressed with how much he knew, and how well he could articulate what autism means to him and his life. It isn’t something one can easily describe.
He then told me he even did the calendar at school that day which is something I’ve asked him to work on. It’s just standing up in front of the class and filling out the date and weather, but for the longest time he wouldn’t do it because it singles him out.
Needless to say, I am so utterly proud of my child this week. I m always proud of my baby, but this week he was so brave I couldn’t be prouder.