“We need to find a way to buy him a new 3DSxl.”, I said to my husband while we lay in bed after an eventful night with our son. “He loved it so much. It was what made him feel like he had a special bedtime routine of his own. He used to snuggle up and watch while you played Mario Kart for him. I would love to see him cuddle like that again. I think he feels forgotten. We need to find some way to let him know he isn’t forgotten. Replacing that DS would be something that would help. I would give anything to see him smile and snuggle like that again.  [tearing up] I miss my little boy. Do you think there is still hope; That we still might have a happy ending to all this stressful time (which we hope is just puberty.)?”

I open my computer and once again saw,

“My son has autism and I wouldn’t trade him for the world!”

I’ve heard and read this statement before, and today as I read someone’s comment stating this I wanted to say, “well duh. They’re our kids!” Now don’t read this statement wrong. This wasn’t said out of a declaration of love for their kids as much as it was in defiance of those of us who dare to talk about the lesser enjoyable things about autism. It was followed by many cries of solidarity and condemnation of anyone who they assumed would think of their child as “damaged”, “less than”, “diseased”, and such.

I wouldn’t trade my son for the world; But I would trade his autism.

I wouldn’t trade his personality; His cute quirks, infectious laughter, big smile, innocent enjoyment of things, obsession with Tomas the Train and Hot Wheels, Mario Brothers and Nintendo video game obsession, among everything else that makes him utterly beautiful.

I would, however, trade the screaming, scratching, pinching, kicking, and hitting. I would trade the bruises I receive, the loneliness, the tears, the fear, the exhaustion as we try with all we have to help him thrive. I would trade his frustration with his inability to talk. I would trade his lack of friends. All the painful things that come with autism.

By saying we would trade their autism, we aren’t insulting our kids. We are stating our desire for them to have the best quality life they can. The things that make autism something people want to find a “cure” to, is not the really cool things that autism brings.

So maybe a more accurate way of saying it would be, “I wouldn’t trade my son for the world, but I would trade the painful parts of his autism.”

No, autism isn’t a disease. It’s a condition. Diseases are caused by viruses, bacteria, and wayward cancer cells. Conditions are not. So really when someone says “cure” it really should be “solution”. And I am certain, the majority of people who say “cure” do mean solution.

Never assume that just because you live with someone with autism, means you are an autism expert. Yet I am amazed that those people who quickly announce that they have a such-and-such with autism, as if it makes them an authority on everything autism, are also just as quick to unknowingly contradict themselves when they say that no autism diagnosis is the same. I have experience of my own son. It does give me better insight into autism in other cases than the normal person, but I will be the first to admit, that if a person does something for their situation (I’m not talking physical safety issues) that I would not, I cannot pass judgement. I am not in their shoes. I don’t live their life. what works for them, might not work for me, and the roads they need to take may not be mine. Also, if I don’t agree, what is it to me what they do with their life? How does it affect me? It doesn’t, so what is the point of people wasting time creating nasty tearing comments about something they don’t understand?

I am so frustrated with this war that parents wage on each other; Where we tear each other down for having an opinion and being brave enough to put it out there. To those attacking people I say, “Shut it!” Read an opinion, and you don’t agree? Fine, just move on. Read an opinion that you love? Show some support with a comment or and/or just go about your day. Commenting rudely does nothing to further a cause or create any positive progress toward anything, but to make the commenter feel better about themselves. The only thing it does is tear apart other people and further divide a community who needs solidarity.

If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all

As always, positive comments are welcome. Negative hurtful comments will be trashed before I can even finish reading them. I have many readers who are emotionally vulnerable, and I will not post comments that will further harm.

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1 Comment on I Wouldn’t Trade my Son for the World. But, I Would Trade His Autism.

  1. I agree. I have 3 sons on the spectrum and believe that every parent’s experience with their child’s diagnosis is just that: their own experience. The mother trying to restrain her daughter from injuring her siblings daily, will have a different point of view from the father whose son has mastered engineering at a young age and is flourishing at school. I have read about parents disavowing other parents because of the food they give their children. However, not all families can afford the ingredients necessary for special diets, or have the transportation to get to a grocery store with a larger collection of goods. Thanks for sharing.

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