Friday, October 19, 2012

Katy’s Firework and a Little Girl Named Jodi Impelled Me to See How Far My Aspie Has Come

Oddly enough, I've had this song in my head for the past few days. Then my sister shared this link with me. Maybe you've seen it? We don't have cable. Really. So this was new to me. Not much brings me to tears. ASD moms can be like that. We're tough. Not much rocks us. But seeing this did it. I took the time to Google and read the lyrics to Katy Perry’s song, “Firework”, and will never hear that song the same again.

Watch and listen.

And believe in your child, and yourself.

It is imperative that those view those who happen to have autism, be it “classic”, “Aspergian”, or anywhere in between to truly believe these individuals are capable of extreme growth. And making a positive mark on the world.

Jodi is living proof that autism is not only a spectrum, but so is the concept of growth for all who are on it. Listen to her story. Consider my daughter, Kristina, too. When she was diagnosed with Asperger’s, had we considered her linear position on that fluid line concrete, she would never have attended Driver’s Ed classes. We would not be taking trips to visit college campuses miles from home. We would be living life “content” with the fact we bought a home that would allow her to spend her adult life living with us, never acquiring the executive functioning and social skills needed for life on her own.

And she would wither.

And the world would miss out on her spirit and spunk.

Both Jodi and Kristina, along with Temple, Jennifer, and so many others prove that those with Autism Spectrum Disorders have so very much to give to all of us.

Be it via watching a YouTube video, raising my own Aspie, watching one of these amazing ladies speak, or doing a simple coffee together, all of these women have enriched my life, and hopefully yours, as well.

Like so many pop songs, I “wrote it off” as another trendy, generational aural fad. But I took the time to read the lyrics, and recall all the struggles my own daughter has faced. Now our family is standing at the door – her door – watching the glow appear from the other side as it starts to open. It is nothing short of breathtaking.

And it brings this stoic, hardened, battle weary mom to tears.

It’s been a long time. It’s been a long road that isn’t over yet. And almost losing my husband this past winter due to a Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (bleeding on the brain) has had us working our way to a “new normal,” too. In brief, life has swallowed us up, making getting from one day to the next the priority, finding me on the cusp of losing the greater perspective when it comes to my daughter.

Watching the story about Jodi and listening to Katy’s lyrics are what it took to get this mom’s perspective back in order. Sometimes, we do need to stop and breathe, choosing to look at the bigger picture.

This is our picture.

My daughter was born with autism (Asperger’s). My daughter’s preschool teacher didn’t have her finishing high school, due to her lack of social ability. Her executive functioning skills as a youngster had us all questioning if she’d go away to college, let alone live on her own someday. Thankfully, neither my husband nor I believed any of this was her fate. We pushed. We taught. We role played - without dungeons, dragons, or funky RenFair outfits. We spent time and money on therapies and books as opposed to yearly vacations and summer camp. Or cable. We simply could not afford them. Yes, it was hard. It was darn hard at times. But we held a firm vision of the future and stood firm. Today, we are seeing the result of all those years of sacrificing time and finances – even my own career.

My daughter is a firework. (This is ironic if you’ve read my book, “Asperger’s in Pink”.) Her door is starting to open. And when it’s her time to shine – all on her own - she will, indeed, light up the night sky, making the world a better place.

So can yours. So can you.

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