Have I ever told you how much I love April? A whole 30 days dedicated to the Autism Spectrum Disorder does not get any better than that! While each year interventional and educational therapies get the most attention, many fail to shine a light of acknowledgement to the group of special people in the background who make all of this possible.
As a high functioning Autism adult trying to live as fully integrated in a Neurotypical world, I can say for certain that out of all the interventionists, my support system is one that never disappoints. They have the hardest job in the world and do so without complaint, pay, or sick leave!
The first set of most valuable players on my team are my mommy and daddy. Thank you for continuing the fight and advocating on my behalf to get me all the services I need to be able to live independently one day.
I know what many of you are thinking after reading that last sentence and the best answer I can provide is this. By definition I am seen as an “adult” in the worlds eyes but developmentally, I am not quite there yet. There are many programs that I have aged out of but when it comes to life skills Autism has no age limit.
Next in line for the spotlight is my older sister or as I use to say before I started speech therapy my “swista”! She will take over some of the responsibilities of my parents when they are in their older years. She is my biggest cheerleader who never stops giving that loving push to force me outside of my comfort zone. I undoubtedly voice my discontent the entire time but she is with me every step of the way. It may take me more than one or two tries but in the end she is always right. I was able to do what she asked of me and the final results are what is most rewarding.
To my life coach, thank you for agreeing to join me on my journey when I came into your office almost 15 years ago. We definitely have a love hate relationship (mostly on my end Haha). I can be stubborn and go months without coming in on my scheduled appointments but I appreciate the fact that you never turn me away. You helped make me the successful person that I am today and I can’t wait to see what other milestones we can accomplish together.
Last but not least there is my boyfriend. I don’t know what was going on in your mind when you asked me to be your girlfriend four years ago but whatever it is I hope it never changes. Thank you for being different. You always see me as a “normal” person and treat me with the highest level of respect. I come with an extra set of challenges that doesn’t always make your life easier but I admire your ability to keep loving me and pushing through.
The one thing I have learned about my journey with Autism is that every day brings forth a new adventure. There is always a sensory issue, communication mishap, or anxiety phobia lurking in the background to which I can not prepare for. When these monsters make their appearances overload or meltdowns occur. It is the downside of the spectrum but having my round the clock support team with me makes life easier.
If others with Autism are reading this and you are not lucky to have what I have don’t give up hope. Guardian angels show up at the most unexpected times in the forms of friends, coworkers, or even strangers. There is someone out there waiting to help you!