Is There Really A Cure For Autism and Do We Want To Have It?

John Graduation 2016
John Graduation 2016

Our youngest John finally made it! He graduated high school with a bang. With over $400k in therapy since he was two years old, he was able to came out as a nonverbal child to a grade 12 graduate with a full diploma! Yes, we did it! WE DID IT! I feel like shouting these words over and over again. I am so proud and elated for his future that I sobbed like a baby. His soothing words of “It’s okay, Mama” had made all the difference in this world.

So, if I am asked today on whether I am interested about a cure for autism? Not anymore. At some point when he was two until he was like 6 or 7, I was hoping that someone brilliant will suddenly just come on national television announcing that they finally found the real cause of autism or have discovered some drugs that will untangle the brain of each and every child with autism in the universe. Yes, I had hoped before. In fact, I prayed a thousand times for it so my son can have more of everything.

But you see, year after year, I am given every reason to believe that John is perfect as he is. Amid all the struggles that all of us had went through, we were able to rise up the occasion and raised a sweet and thoughtful young man who sees more goodness and kindness in others more than he sees in himself.

Compassionate, this is the perfect word for my son John. He knows when I feel down and agitated. He knows when to give you a pat in the back without even you blurting any word of what’s bottling inside you. It’s like he can see through you and, without judgment or whatsoever, he simply understands. He recognizes his but never complains about them. He is aware of his frailties but smile head on even when the whole world is frowning upon him.

Enjoying his graduation cake
Enjoying his graduation cake

As an autism parent, I know there are others out there who are still trying to unravel their children’s condition. Some of them are, perhaps, hoping that a magic vial will be available soon to relieve them from the constant anxiety and frustrations often common in households with autism kids.

Trust me, the frustrations will always sneak up on you every now and then. It will haunt you and make you feel so down it feels like you will never stand tall and proud again. But it is up to you to let such feeling gnaw at your being. It is up to you to let others get into your skin. Your child, your most precious one maybe different from the rest but he is yours and yours alone. He is a gift that needs to be cherished.

So, if you ask me if I am interested in a cure. Stop it already! I may still not be satisfied in the success that John enjoyed today because I know he can do better in the future, I am confident in my skin that I have raised a good son—autism and all. There is no amount of cure that will change him. He is exceptional as he is and for that, I am forever thankful to the Heavens above.

How about you? What’s your autism story? Share your thoughts with us. Feel free also to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages. We’d love to hear from you.

Autism Burnout: Do You Have It?

when autism gets the best out of you

 Summer is finally here. With no school to distract the kids, many moms out there must have their hands full. Without a doubt, parenting is an extremely challenging experience. It’s a round-the-clock job with little or no time for vacation or relaxation. Add autism to the equation and you are certainly in for the long haul. Though, many autism moms have learned to adjust their sails for a smooth journey, there will always be that time of the year when things go awry leading to—burnout.

Burnout can get the best out of people. With a to-do-list that rivals that of an online Encarta, mommies (as well as daddies, too!) can easily succumb to the bittersweet temptation of exhaustion—beyond reasonable doubt. Things just simply came crashing down on you and the stress piles up like laundry on a soccer game week.

You feel drained, like all your energy is snapped out of you.

Wait, is it fibromyalgia? A bad case of guilt-tripping? What disease is this?

No! It’s just your inner self screaming for a few hours of nothingness, of not being needed, of being left alone, of being yourself.

Burnout is a tangible experience. It makes you feel exhausted, drained beyond relief. It makes things seem irritating and icky. You’re losing sleep. You feel like crying but no tears come out of your eyes. It’s a phase and you know it’s a phase but you’re just not up to anything.

When things do go crashing down for me, I pray. I ask for guidance, for enlightenment. I would rise before anyone else at home and leave my mind blank for a while as if in meditation but without the chanting and everything else. I feel the moment. I take in everything that’s within my surroundings as if harnessing all the energy I can get.

After an hour or so of simply engrossing myself in my aloneness, I think of all the good things that happened within the week. I let them envelope me in a fierce hug. I think of the depressing things and then, I let them be expelled from my system.

I look at my autism advocacy. I think about how far I’ve come. I contemplate on what more I can give for others, for awareness, for acceptance.

Yes, I talk to myself as if a separate entity. It’s a refreshing feeling to let loose of inhibitions and the guilt, of having no expectations, of the stressors gnawing at your being. When it feels like the world is crashing down, I seek out help without being too clingy.

I don’t ignore what I feel. Ignoring your feelings will bring you nowhere. When autism hits you straight in the gut, you embrace it. You feel it. You work around it!

Get outside and engage others. Have a good laugh. Go on a vacation together. Go on one, alone. What is something you love to do? Do just that! Who usually makes you happy or giddy with excitement? Call them. Hug them when they’re near. Let them know, you are here and sometimes, you need someone to tell yourself not to act too strong, that you also have a day’s pass to be weak and vulnerable.

Burnout from autism is a real deal. It doesn’t hurt to ask for help. Do not wait for things to blow out of proportion before you act on it. Get on with it—now!

Got any tips on how to handle burnout with autism? Write to me at pamela@livingautismnow.com. Your inputs will be greatly appreciated by autism parents across the globe. Check out our Facebook and Twitter for more updates.

Photo Credits: Keeper of the Home