By ANGELA BRIGGS
Yesterday I posted a pic, #lovemydynamiteboy #always . It was taken a couple of days ago; however posted after a brief conversation, with an acquaintance, while waiting for the 333 bus.
She wanted to ask me… “Would I have had my son, if I knew he was going to be autistic?”
I have been asked this before on occasion, generally by pregnant women (or friends of) considering pre-natal tests for down syndrome; and unfortunately once by someone close to me.
Thomas is my biggest blessing. He is sweet, funny, fearless, and full of love and kindness. Thomas rocks skinnies like no other, has lots of beautiful friendships, speaks the language of Pixar, swim likes a fish, loves the first three songs on Ryan Adam’s album “GOLD”, and has a fascinating imagination. If you bump your head, Thomas will run to get you ice and insist someone kiss you better.
Parenting has its challenges, regardless of any diagnosis, which may or may not come. Thomas can drive me crazy at times, and there are days when bedtime cannot come quick enough.
And admittedly special needs are hugely expensive; effective therapists can be a nightmare to find, schooling options are limited and being in public is tough. The stares and comments can wear you down; it can leave you feeling angry, sad and at times has destroyed my confidence. Most of this I did not share with her; I simply asked her why Thomas’s life would be of less value than that of the child that was sitting near us at the bus stop?
And told her this lovely story. Recently a mum of Thomas’s friend shared that her son had told her the Thomas did not have a disability. He had a special ability. He said to his Mum, Thomas makes people happy! I was so moved; this is absolutely true.
Every child counts, without exception.
There is no pre natal test for autism and I hope there never is. I also hope there is never a “cure.” Better resources, more understanding, opportunities and support, yes, but I love my dynamite boy just the way he is, always.
Angela is a mother, literary nerd, culinary addict, wannabe gardener, tea loving Bondi local. She would like to contribute to creating further awareness, more genuine dialogue and positive action in our communities; to challenge perceptions and stereotypes, until they no longer exist. Angela’s goal is to not focus on the parental challenges or a specific diagnosis; it is to engage people in an authentic way by sharing all the cool and at times perhaps some not so cool stuff that happens in and amongst Thomas’s world. Her hope is this transparency; will create a ripple effect, which in some way will influence more inclusion, equality and opportunities for all. Every child counts, without exception.