Today is Autism Awareness Day. I’ve turned my social media profile pictures blue for the month in recognition.
For parents, therapists, those on the spectrum, and everyone else involved it’s more than a month. Every day all year.
My family’s story is just that. Our story. If you have met an autistic person, congratulations. You have met one. That does not mean that experience equals mine, or his, or hers, or theirs. Every single person is unique and so is the support.
I put up that altered Superman logo because the lessons of super heroes have helped me out along the way. Discipline, patience, leading by example. Always being a hero.
There’s a quote from the comic Wanted that can be altered to apply here. The quote is something like “good has to always be ready because they don’t know when Evil will strike, but evil can take a day off.”
By no means am I equating evil with autism or saying I’m all good. It’s the idea of always being “on”. Bad day at work? Your kid needs you. Kid is having a meltdown? Don’t lose your cool. Drove an hour for a fun activity but your kid is triggered and you have to leave 5 minutes later? She still needs you.
Through all of this you are your child’s hero and need to remain that. No flipping out, no screaming, no swearing, no giving up. Always on.
Superman does good. Stopping crime, saving people. To throw another quote in here, this by Chris Rock, “Superman does good. You do well.” So many parents like me, my wife, and countless others try to do our well best every day. Superman doesn’t give lectures. You’re stupid for driving during an earthquake. Or, it was awfully foolish of you to fall off that skyscraper. No. He saves, and he encourages you to do better next time.
So tomorrow we all try to do better. Into the next day or month even without awareness. With patience while searching for a toy. Or calm while something common is suddenly horrible. Or, honestly, humor because you can’t believe how clever your child is, even if at times it’s inappropriate.
Every day I’m aware that after school and after work it’s time to take the glasses off and make him believe a dad can try.