– James Whitcomb Riley
Ever since our book, “The Thinking Moms’ Revolution: Autism Beyond the Spectrum: Inspiring True Stories from Parents Fighting to Rescue Their Children” hit the bookshelves, I have had a number of people question my involvement.
“I didn’t know Jaz was autistic?
“If Jaz isn’t austistic, why did you contribute to the TMR book?”
“What does Jaz have in common with the other kids?”
First off, no, my daughter is not diagnosed with autism. I don’t say this in the “I am in denial and am offended by the suggestion” sort of way, but rather in the “nope, not autism,but….” sort of way.
If you go by what Wikipedia says, “Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.” It goes on to say that “Autism has a strong genetic basis, although the genetics of autism are complex and it is unclear whether ASD is explained more by rare mutations, or by rare combinations of common genetic variants. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects. Controversies surround other proposed environmental causes, such as heavy metals, pesticides or childhood vaccines; the vaccine hypotheses are biologically implausible and lack convincing scientific evidence”.
Note to self – stop thinking that Wikipedia is the end all, be all of accurate information.
Ok – back to my point…even though Wikipedia only opts to mention impaired social interaction, poor communication and repetitive behaviors, we are smart enough to know that that barely begins to describe autism. Although not all kids have the same symptomology, as you know, many are also dealing with ADHD, seizure disorder, gross motor delays, fine motor delays, sensory processing issues, auditory processing delays, anxiety disorder, food allergies/sensitivities, heavy metal overload, asthma, digestive issue, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
So, no. My daughter is not diagnosed with autism, but, at one point or another, she has been diagnosed with every single one of the ailments that I listed above. Every. Single. One. Does this make her a duck? Meh. Doesn’t really matter much if you ask me. What does matter is that regardless of the label, she shares common ground with many kids on the spectrum, and I share so many concerns that parents of autistic children have.
If you read the book, I speak in my chapter about the moment I realized I was not alone. I would bet my last dollar that each person reading this knows at least one person who needs to know that THEY are not alone. Maybe their child is floating around undiagnosed or differently diagnosed. Maybe they can’t find the right place to find support because their child is the square peg that does not fit into the round hole. Maybe, just maybe, their child is a duck in disguise.
I am here to tell you LOUD and CLEAR that TMR is for everyone. Did you hear me? EVERYONE! Not only can we offer support to all sorts of folks with all sorts of diagnosis, we WANT to. So, don’t be shy about passing us along. Don’t think that only those with autism can identify with us or vice versa. Go ahead, send us to a friend and say, “I know your child does not have autism, but….”
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