As Autism parents it’s heartbreaking at times to see our kids trying so hard to fit. Only those who live it daily can possibly understand. If you have stumbled upon my blog it stands a chance you are in some way interested in knowing about ASD’s.
What makes the difference?
I had a wonderful Mom who loved and accepted me for just being me. My Mom is what made all the difference. I know how much hard work I could be at times, but I always felt loved, accepted and safe when I was at home with my Mom.
I didn’t realize I was spectrummy until after my Mom died and my Dad at the age of 64 was diagnosed with Autism. It was reading about Autism, trying to help my Dad, that first brought me to finding out about Aspergers Syndrome. Reading those first few books, finding out that there were others like me, was like finding my planet. That MASSIVE light bulb moment. But truth being told, it was only when my little girl started school that I truly, deeply made the connection.
A place where I can be me, that’s what my blog is about.
I wrote a letter back in January 2009, it was part of my counseling. In this letter I had just started to understand that I am on the Spectrum. The letter is written to myself as a small child and it was very hard to write it at the time, I felt a lot of guilt and sorrow for my childhood self. I am now at a point where I can share most of this letter. There are a few parts I decided to take out.
With early intervention, with nurturing teachers and if school was a kinder environment things could have been so different for little Lisa.
Dear little Lisa,
It is very hard to write this letter, maybe it is so hard because all of your life I have stopped you from being you. Now I need to take a good look at who you really are, not who this world has made you become. I need to tell you it’s ok to just be you.
This is a scary step because I have spent so long and worked so hard trying to make you fit. I don’t really remember who we are anymore. So please little Lisa can you help me remember so I can help us to be who we are created to be.
My earliest memory is a pair of red slippers with zips up the front. I remember the carpet being fitted on the stairs, you were so terrified of the grippers and your slippers were in your bedroom.
I remember the pink swirly, floral wallpaper in your bedroom and how the light reflected on the walls and ceiling making the flowers seem somehow alive.
I remember your first day at school, the pain of being separated from your Mommy. You screamed all day and held onto the hood of her coat that had detached itself when the teacher dragged you away from her. I remember you feeling totally alone, you were terrified at school by everything going on around you. The other children were so rough and loud they destroyed everything you tried to do. There was no-one who cared enough to stop this. Every time you found a quiet corner someone would come along and make you do something you didn’t want to do.
You loved to sing and make noise with instruments, you loved painting, drawing and playing with clay. You loved climbing and dancing, doing handstands, being upside down and spinning around until you fell over. It didn’t matter that no-one else was doing it, it was fun.
At school the things you liked to do didn’t happen very often and you couldn’t play the games the other kids played. The play ground seemed too dangerous for you, I know I remember, you were always getting knocked over. You didn’t like the running games because you fell over a lot. I remember the special shoes you had, they were blue and built up on the one side to make your feet turn outwards.
I remember your thoughts each day as you went through the school gates, “Maybe today someone will play something I want to play. Maybe today they will be nice to me!”
I remember the time you decided to just be like everyone else. I remember the friends you tried to be like, none of them stayed around for long. You tried so hard to make them like you and each time felt more of a failure.
It’s ok that you couldn’t read you learned eventually, once you found something you were interested in there was no stopping you. Also you were really good at a lot of other things it’s just that at school no one recognised these. They just pointed at what you couldn’t do.
You are creative, you write poetry, you love to paint, your mind solves puzzles and sees things in a way that other people can’t see. You are impulsive, it’s not a lack of organisation it’s a flow of active creativity and your body needs to keep up with your mind, so you fidget a lot. You sing and make up songs and when you are 8 you learn to play the guitar. You’re kind and compassionate and you feel very deeply for people and animals. Sometimes you can’t communicate that and run away because you hurt, but that is ok, you will learn to express these things one day.
Now I want to tell you something, the language that we spoke that no one understood was called echolalia. It helped us and we did learn words and copied other peoples words too. I am learning about this now. I found out about a thing called Aspergers Syndrome, it’s very complicated but it is an Autism Spectrum Disorder. I think this is what is different about us, I’m going to learn about it so we can learn to be us again.
We never did learn how to make a time machine, but it’s ok to dream. Your daydreams take you to wonderful places and they help you to see a happy world of fun and friends. Your imaginary friend is real to you and that’s all that matters, Weena helps you to understand how friends should be and how they should treat you. She stops you from feeling alone and helps you to understand when you are being treated badly in the future.
This letter is getting really long but this is what I want you to know
People will make you change, they will make you conform to what they see as normal. You will be made to feel a freak, weird, thick. Everything you are good at you will be made to feel is unimportant, and the things you find hard will be the things people make you do. You will get to a point in your life when you feel no one cares and people just use and abuse your nature. You will lose all trust and hope but you will always have a safe place. You will always have your secret place to go. They can never take away what you see inside your dreams, what you feel inside your heart.
You grow up innocent and naive because you live in a daydream with people of another time/world a nicer place. But that is ok, it gives you faith and your faith gets you through everything. There will be tough times, times when you are no longer the person you want to be but you are strong enough to get through it and you will learn to say no.
At the end of the day all this is just lessons and it will all pass, you are unique, yes different but not boring. What my adult self wants to say little Lisa is it is great to be you, you just need to realise it.