This post was originally published at http://www.myaspergersteen.com/my-aspergers-teen-to-i-wish-i-didnt-have-aspergers-autismpositivity2012/ and is reprinted here with permission of the author.
The Autism Positivity Flash Blog was inspired by a search referral on another site. Someone searched the internet for “i wish i didn’t have aspergers”, which is heartbreaking yet all too familiar. Those of us who are affected by autism, whether personally or through a loved one, have banded together to send messages of hope to that anonymous searcher.
May 10 will mark 7 years since my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age six. Long before that day, though, I knew something was going on with Jayden. He saw and reacted to the world differently than other kids his age. He was so far ahead in some areas of development, yet so far behind in others. At the time, I was finishing my graduate training to be a psychotherapist, so I knew what the verdict would be before the evaluations even began.
Asperger’s Syndrome. Autism spectrum. Here are some pamphlets. Here’s what to expect.
Even though Jayden’s diagnosis was no surprise, it was still hard for me to take in. That moment was just part of any other day for the diagnostic team at Weisskopf, but it changed everything for us. As a parent, I had to completely readjust my expectations for the future. I had to accept the fact that all the things I anticipated might occur on a completely different timeframe, if at all. And as Jayden grew old enough to understand his diagnosis, he had to adjust as well.
I completely understand what it’s like to wish I didn’t have to deal with autism. Sometimes I’m frustrated and sad and worried about my son. Even angry – not with him, but with our situation. He’s going to high school in August and I’m terrified. In moments like those, sometimes I think, Wow. If only he didn’t have to deal with this. If only he didn’t have to struggle. And, in more selfish moments, I think, If only *I* didn’t have to deal with this. Maybe that makes me a bad mother, but I’d like to think it makes me human. There are always times in life when we would love to be somewhere or someone else.
There is Always Good
Despite the moments when I’m overwhelmed, I would never take away Jayden’s autism. I wish I could take away the things that are difficult for him, like dealing with bullies or organizing homework or tying his shoes, but I would never wish away the Asperger’s diagnosis because it’s so much a part of who he is. It’s easy to focus on the hard things and lose track of all the wonderful things, but I make a point to think about the good parts every single day.
He may not always express it the way he wants to, but Jayden truly cares for other people. He has never been mean or cruel, has never made fun of anyone or called them names. He is creative and polite and smart and funny. He never hesitates to say what he thinks or stand up for his beliefs and values. He doesn’t fall victim to peer pressure. He doesn’t accept anything as true, right, or fair just because another person says he should – he thinks for himself. And there is no way I would trade any of those qualities for a child whose brain works “typically” (whatever that means).
This world is made up of all kinds of people. And each of us struggles with something, whether it’s a diagnosis, issues with family, or any number of problems and troubles. Don’t let your struggles overshadow the good. Don’t let the world convince you that who you are isn’t enough. There is love and support out there to help you find your way. A label does NOT define you, just as it doesn’t define my son. My hope for you is that, one day soon, you will be able to recognize your strengths and will never have to wish that you didn’t have Asperger’s again.