Friday, January 16, 2015

My Wide-Angle Lens

Happy New Year all. Maybe I'm still in the honeymoon phase or just high from all of these exercise endorphins (yes I'm sticking to my treadmill goals I had previously mentioned), but I feel physically and mentally healthier as of lately. I've been able to see my life clearer and gain control over the fears that once took over my mindset. Call me cynical, but it's finally becoming apparent that this life of raising a daughter with special needs isn't all that bad. 

Now this is where I may sound a little indifferent, spiritual, crazy, whatever people may call it, but I often wonder if my daughter being autistic is to protect us from something greater down the road in life. Meaning, because my daughter is autistic, the chances of her struggling with addictions, teenage drama, and so forth may be limited. Or maybe that's my wishful thinking, turning autism into something granidose when in reality, autism can be a huge struggle for many families out there. Thus, I'm not trying to glamourize autism. I'm just trying to understand it more, learn it's language as it applies to my daughter, and see it as something special rather than some sort of tragedy.  

Over the past few weeks, I've leared how wrong it's been to portray autism in general as being the wrongdoer in my and my daughter's life. Something I've played my personal fiddle to time and time again. Making excuses and crying the blues like "poor me, my life sucks" when in all actuality, I'm pretty darn lucky. Some of the things that make my daughter incredibly resilient and brilliant is due to her autism and not just because of her strong personality. 

Even though it may be a struggle for her and for me to understand her at times, and I'm certain the struggle isn't over yet,  I'm learning to become fluent in her language. I'm learning how to communicate and bond the best way Autumn knows how. I've adapted to her little world. Because of the above choices, she's allowing me into her circle during play. She tells me or shows me when she needs to regulate her sensory system or when she's feeling overwhelmed. The biggest challenge has been keeping my voice low and being patient with her when she wants to try to do something herself. I'm seeing that despite a label given to her by all of us (myself included), she's unstoppable. Autumn has already developed such motivation and a love for learning, being around other people and wanting to explore her world that at first, I was afraid to let her go, but now, I sit back and watch her flutter her wings. 

Isn't that the purpose of this journey? To have Autumn fly as high or as low as she chooses regardless of what the "experts, progress notes, and IEPs" say? In Autumn's world, I'm seeing that she has no limits. She doesn't see them like maybe we would. The rejections and the harsh judgments of society drowned in fear that holds many of us back hasn't gotten the best of my sweet girl. She doesn't view her world through a small picture frame but with a wide-angle lens seeing limitless horizons full of potential. So I've decided to do the same. 

I end with this tidbit. Recently we went to a play place where there was another little girl there that Autumn wanted to play with. The little girl wasn't interested in all of Autumn's jumping joy glory so she didn't want to play after Autumn tried to attempt socialization. Now maybe other NT little girls would've been hurt by this rejection. Well not my girl. She moved on quickly that eventually this little girl wanted to play with Autumn. By then, Autumn could care less at that point. She was already happily engaged into her Lego building/pretend cooking that she didn't notice the girl longing to play with her. She had moved on. She didn't let the initial rejection get the best of her or ruin her fun. Now that's a trait I'm sure many of us wished we possessed. Is it because of autism or not? Who knows...

Wide-angle lens all. The wide-angle lens.

Let's look through them like our butterfly  kids do. Like Autumn does on a daily. May that be a part of your New Years resolutions for 2015: any view can be limitless if you just look beyond your boundaries.