I wish autism parents would believe me when I tell them that everything will be just fine. It won’t be easy. But things will be fine. One day you will look back and wonder how you survived. The appointments, the IEP meetings, the criticism, stares, rude comments and tears. It is by the grace of God that I did it.
People don’t believe me when I tell them that Sydney pulled out all of her hair at 18 months. Or that she stopped talking and didn’t make eye contact with our family. When I tell them how she would spend all day lining up her toys in a perfect row. They are stunned. The tantrums and meltdowns were the worst. I would hold her for hours in the corner of her room. They just don’t believe me.
I wish that I had the courage to have captured some of those moments on video. Honestly, I was struggling with a failing marriage. That wasn’t caused by autism. I was exhausted, and embarrassed. How could I be an educator and not be able to help my own child. I felt so alone.
The Good Doctor taught me so much in the past weeks. First, it gives me hope that society is embracing adults with autism. I now have hope that Sydney will be able to have a job when she is an adult. And it doesn’t have to be packing groceries in a grocery store. She might be a florist, makeup artist, or a chef. Only God knows.
The Good Doctor forced me to confront some difficult experiences that I had buried in my memory. It also allowed me to appreciate just how beautiful Sydney’s mind really is. I’m in awe at how her mind interprets the world around her in such a magnificent way.
When people see Sydney now. They see a young lady that loves her routine and schedule. Is social but also enjoys her time alone. She is communicating with her peers and being a sassy teenager at times. Sydney continues to make progress because she has the best big brother ever. And a mama that will advocate for her daily.
Just yesterday we couldn’t find the maraschino cherries in the grocery store because they just remodeled. She didn’t have a meltdown in the middle of the aisle. I explained to her that we were going on a scavenger hunt for maraschino cherries. When we finally found them. She smiled and told me to buy two jars. Something so simple, is a huge victory for our family.
I admit when I watch The Good Doctor I cry. But the joy after each episode gives me hope. We Light It Up Blue in April. But our family lives with autism every day of the year.