About Me

I am the proud mother of 6 children. 5 of our children have autism. We do not feel our world has ended, but just begun. We do not chelate, intervene biochemically, give shots of any kind, practice ABA, etc. We treat them as we treat any humanbeing. We treat them with kindness and respect and expect the same from them. They are exceptional children.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Beauty Inside....

I am watching my oldest daughter from our front window. It is raining, not her favorite thing. But, she has come a long way from the little girl who would cringe with the sound of thunder.
She is standing outside waiting patiently for her bus. She does not like to wait. Since it is raining, the bus will be late. She keeps coming to the window to peer inside to check the time. She is a stickler for time, always has been.
I watch her with awe. 13 years ago, I did not know what was to become of her. I was told "autism" and basically, "Good luck to ya"....
The doctors did not have much knowledge with autism. Remember, it was 1 in 2500. You were told to go to the neurologist. The neurologist sent you to the OT, PT, and Speech therapists. I believe these people saved her life and gave us the door to better things. There were no groups, with the exception of Autism Society of America, and Dr. Rimland's group Autism Research Institute.
My husband and I went to the downtown library every Saturday and checked out the minimal books on autism. I read them all. They did not have very positive words in those books. They basically prepared you to have your child packing for a group home or state institution. Neither of which was an option in our home.
Caitlin was non-verbal and occasionally she would get some words. She would lose them eventually, but we were used to that. She had her fits in the grocery store and restaurants. We would graciously leave when these happened. No big deal....could you put this in a to-g0 box for us......
We were forever told, what a gorgeous child. It is a shame she will never know how beautiful she is. Or, my favorite, "at least she looks normal".
The sad part of all that people see is that they do not see the "beauty" inside of Caitlin. They see her amazing hazel eyes. They see her gorgeous long brown hair, which she refuses to let me cut. They see her laughing out of context. They hear her buzzing "like a bee" ( as Caitlin calls it ). They see her flapping when happy, or biting her hand when she is upset.
She is the most hilarious person I know. She loves to laugh. She loves to jump, flap, dance and sing. She just does not like it when you join in. She loves the 80's music. That is the only music I know, but I am not allowed to sing with her. I have to lip-sync. She knows the singer and song to every song ever written. She knows all movie titles, stars and years. She knows every make and model of every vehicle ever made. She can tell by looking at the side of a car. She is the smartest person I have ever met. She makes A's and B's on her report card. Always on the honor roll. She was invited to be in the National Junior Honor Society. They did not choose her. She did not have enough extracurricular--ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
But, most people will never know.
I am proud of all of our children. I relish them all. They all give me so many different things in my life.
But, it is Caitlin who made me the mother I am.
Caitlin taught me how to change a diaper...sad, but true.
Caitlin gave me my patience during her crying fits.
Caitlin gave me my hugs when I would be sad.
Caitlin taught me that it is okay to make her chicken, rice and corn every night ( see the carb connection ?)
Caitlin taught me how to be her advocate at school and in life.
Caitlin gave me the opportunity to see that Autism was not a death sentence.
Caitlin let me see the beauty inside of her.....
Now I am sharing it with you.


S.L. said...

Thankful I had my tissues right here! Wow, that was absolutely beautiful. I can relate in so many ways, it was so moving to read it.

Emma said...

Here via the disability blog carnival... what a beautiful post so heartfelt and meaningful. I am disabled myself and the lessons your daughter taught you remind me of the lessons my CP has caused me to learn. Caitlin sounds like she has an amazing soul and I mean that in a good way not in a look at the poor girl fighting type way. Yeah it's late and i'm babbling, hope this makes some vague form of sense!

Mom26children said...

It makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for you kind words.

Arlene Wilson said...

Insightful and lovely!