Where do we fit in

In an uninformed world, where do we fit in?

It seems that autism has been gaining a lot of recognition lately, which is fantastic. Since we’ve joined the blogging world, and Instagram, we’ve found that there are so many other families out there that have been impacted by autism, and are publicly sharing their stories, and knowledge. It’s even trending in Hollywood (Atypical, the A Word, the Good Doctor). The world is learning that autism really does exist.

However, that’s really all of the information that they’re getting–that autism exists. They know so little about it that so many of us have heard, “he/she doesn’t look like they have autism.” They must know more than we do, though. I didn’t realize that autism had a specific look to it! Maybe I should ask the next person that says that to us? Then I can let everyone in the autism community know what it is (please stand by).

Either way, people are becoming more aware of autism. But because they don’t really understand anything about it we still feel isolated. We don’t personally know many people with children on the autism spectrum. A few, but not many. In most cases I assume that families impacted by autism know more people without a family member with autism than any that have one. This makes it difficult to find people who can empathize with us. It also makes it difficult for us to socialize, such as attending birthday parties.

We do have places that we regularly go to that Belle is familiar with (such as a grandparent’s house). Most of them have a toy room, or a play area that she can go to, which is great. But she also enjoys wandering; tends to want to play by herself; and loves to go after small objects that are meant to stay put. This means that either mom, or I have to helicopter. And that means that we may not be a part of whatever gathering is taking place. For that reason we don’t typically go to new places.

It’s kind of sad. We know plenty of people with kids that could potentially be friends with Belle, but in most cases it probably won’t happen (some of them we just don’t like, anyway 😀 ). We also know that we can’t expect everyone around us to conform to our needs, but we’re fairly certain that one visit to the house of some of these people would be our last.

We’ve heard others talk about their botched visits to a friend’s house. Their child is doing things they shouldn’t, and they can feel the judgement coming from everyone. They talk about the distance that has formed between them and their usual group of friends or family that are incapable of handling their situation. We don’t want to face that. Belle doesn’t need to be judged for who she is, and we don’t need to be judged on our parenting. Paying to replace any broken, precious items doesn’t appeal to us, either.

So, where do we fit in? Where can we go to avoid judgment by others because of the way that our daughter is acting? No offense against our extended family, but I don’t want my only escape to be their homes! We want our daughter to experience as much of the world as she can, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that happens. It would just be nice if others weren’t so quick to judge what’s happening. We want Belle to fit in just as much as she deserves to fit in.

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