A veteran mom with a adog in the fight of autism recovery, I sometimes forget that feeling of stepping from the island of autism diagnosis into the light of help. It can be completly overwhelming . Between learning the medical terms for your child’s chronic health issues, to wondering where the hell to start trying to help him or her – but you are also hit with that odd felling of “Do I dare to have hope? What if it doesn’t work for us?”. I have seen that overwhelmed face today at AutismOne – over and over.
“I’m new to this”
“I am the only caregiver”
“I just realized we have more work to do in something I thought we were done with”.
In between realizations big and small – this conference is a refreshing drop of hope into what seem can seem to be a big ol’ puddle of despair.
“Look at this research”
“How can I get into see that doctor?”
“Your daughter is a lot like my son”
So many connections have been made at AutismOne over the years. Between doctors and parents AND parents and providers – but most importantly between parents and parents. The connections, dare I say friendships, born from the conference are the ripples made from that hope droplett that reach to the edges of that despair puddle.
The friendships and connetions help you carry that information beyond your point of learning and give you the couage to implement. These connections give you a place to go when you need to ask a question. They give you a place to go when you feel totally alone and someone can say “yeah – that DOES suck” and they really do know it DOES suck.
So, I’m sitting at the table and I’m remembering that overwhelmed nowhere-to-turn feeling at the beginning of autism. Then I compare it to the thank-goodness-i-have-you-smart-mommas-to-help-me-out-and-talk-me-off-the-ledge feeling I have now. And two things crossed my mind.
First, we need to expand that ripple from our drop of hope way beyond that puddle of despair. WAY beyond. Way, WAY, WAAAAY beyond.
Second, we need to stop more families from being initiated into our damn club! STOP AUTISM! I mean, *really* stop it – not just “change the DSM criteria” stop it.
I realize I just asked you to stop despair AND autism on a Sunday morning but it really can’t be that hard, huh? JUST TALK ABOUT IT.
If you feel hopeful about a new treatment – talk about it.
If you are appalled at the new autism rate of 1 in 88 – talk about it.
If the conference made you feel hopeful that you can help your child/grandchild – talk about it.
If your child has improved medically or cognitively from a treatment or therapy – talk about it.
If you are excited that there are mulitple presenations at the conference linking environmnet insults to autism – talk about it!!!!
Talk to your spouse, your neighbor, a stranger, teachers, doctors, your hairdresser – whoever will listen.
OK – I don’t want you to be labeled “That Lady” or “That Guy” – so how ‘bout if you put it on your weekly list of things to do:
- Call Insurance about denied claim
- Call School District re: IEP goals
- Call Carpet Cleaners….
- Hope Talk
“Hope Talk” will be that ten second conversation you have with the stranger in the grocery store about GMOs. Or the comment you make to the school nurse about your son’s improved focus since adding EFAs to his diet. Hope Talk might be mentioning that your son who didn’t speak until six years of age just spontateously told you “Guess what happened at school today”. Hope Talk is telling poeple, again and again and again that your child has recovered from autism (Please God, Someday?) Hope Talk is telling complete strangers that your brother on the spectrum has a girlfriend.
So I challenge you, Dear Reader, to engage in Hope Talk. Weekly.
Expand those ripples of hope waaaaay out into the universe.
It is your job as a Thinker.
No free rides.
You are getting your child healthier because someone shared information with you. Pass it on.