Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cooper performing his daily chore!

"If you've met one autistic child, you've met one autistic child." A common axiom repeated in autism circles. Basically, it means every autistic child is different, but somehow united under the umbrella of autism. The truth to this statement never rings louder than seeing a group of parents describing their autistic children. Each child exhibits unique temperaments, social impairments and behavioral challenges, but what unites these children is striking. The commonality brings us together, and encourages us to understand and support each other as only someone can who comes from the same place.

Such was the case last night, our asperger's/autism group at my friend Jessica's house. Almost ten moms congregated in her living room. The group held many familiar faces, along with four newbies. We stuck with our familiar format: circling the room to allow everyone an opportunity for introductions, updates, and concerns.

Many moms shared minor victories, with school successes being huge for several individuals. Of course, we all had shared challenges, while welcoming comments from the group. Despite the heaviness of the topic at hand, we found time to laugh at ourselves and the truly wacky situations that arise in the day to day.

One of the newcomers announced she was the mom of a teenage autistic boy. We all appreciated her transparency, as she openly shared major challenges she's facing with her son. I think we collectively cheered her arrival. Last month's new mom (of a teenage boy) needed a contemporary: someone who truly understands the challenges of teenage boys. Instantly, they hit it off, and rattled off treatment plans, pharmaceutical tips, and a whole host of acronyms while the rest of us couldn't stop smiling because they found each other.

At the end of the night, I was glad to be with these other amazing moms. But, most of all I was elated by the connections that were made.

Each autistic child may be different, and each parent as well, but what binds us together is the need for understanding and support. Hopefully last night accomplished just that.

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