Loving Our Children: Focusing on the Cans!

I just finished reading Emily’s post, Asking an Aspie the Cure Question, and it’s a wonderful post about a controversial subject that has endless play in the online autism world: to cure or not to cure.

Here’s my response with some additions to her asking her aspie if he’d want a cure:

Hee, I love that you ended it on a laugh (and she did! and we can always use a giggle!). And I’m so very glad TH likes himself just as he is! :-)

I know that Bobby is self-aware enough to wish that he thought better, could successfully do school work so that he could have a diploma, but it doesn’t weigh on him, and he is happy with the life he has built. I have no doubt we could make him desperately unhappy if we focused on the not-ables, but we don’t. We focus on the cans.

There may be a lot of can’ts, but there’s a lot of cans and I’m proud of each and every new skill he masters. He is my bright boy and he shines.

My Lil, oh my Lil, she embraces her autism with pride and flair! She doesn’t have the significant difficulties that her brother does; she aspires to be Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory.

She is bright, brilliant, stubborn, enthusiastic, delightful and a handful. She surprises me each day. Like a lily, her beauty astounds.

My girls, last May

My Rose, well, she’s quiet about her thoughts unless she’s in meltdown mode, but she does tell stories, shifting from one foot to the next in a never ending bounciness, complete with and-and-and-ands and so-so-so-so-sos so that whoever is listening is grinning at what an amazing little girl she is with her never-ending stories! Would she wish to be other than she is? I suspect not, not at all.

It’s my job as their mama to love them with all my heart while working with all my might to help them grow into warm, loving, and kind adults who give as much as they take, and ideally give more than they take. I know that my bright boy has grown into just that kind of man, despite all the not-ables. What more could I ask for?  He is living at his potential. He is safe. He is happy. He is a gift to all who meet him. As I teach my children to focus on the cans instead of on the not-ables, so too must I.
*That's how the post stands at the wordpress countering, but upon reading a commenter at Emily's, I have no doubt she'd read this and chime in with the awfuls and not okays. So, perhaps it's best to address it in advance.
Is it okay that my son can't live independently? That if family isn't there for him, he'll need a group home? Well, it's the reality. It is what it is. All the wishing ain't gonna change it. And certainly all the bitching and negativism isn't. What we cannot change, we must accept or find a way around. If we choose to dwell in angry places, we do no good. We help neither ourselves nor our children. I believe that when we dwell on the can'ts and the injustice of it all, we mire our children in that morass as well, and we do them harm. When we rail at what they cannot do and bemoan our fates and theirs, we do them harm. 
So, you give me a choice between helping my boy to do the best he can, to be proud of what he can do, to find his own niche in the world where he can shine and be seen within in the light of his cans and that's what I'm gonna do. It has everything about how I choose to find my place in this world while helping my children to find their places. And part of that is making sure they are happy, that all is well with their souls.
Other people will choose different paths for themselves and their children and that is their right.


kathleen said...

I really don't like the "cure" question myself..because I always think "cure what?" What is it that would be..I don't know-fixed? I don't know how I would have answered this years ago-really I don't. There was a time when there wasn't time to even think such thoughts because we were just so busy trying to get through all the things we were getting through. When I see one of my kids struggle..when the anxiety is just overwhelming, I so want to relieve them of it.. I'm their mama, how could I not? HOWEVER-I also see the same kids find such joy in just being who they are..and how could I or why would I want to change that? Which brings me back to square one and the "cure what?" question..I would love to cure the world..so that all human beings are valid..and important and vital..and that no one is ever seen as less than. *sigh*

farmwifetwo said...

I never once said I wasn't proud of him. He's severely autistic and doing a lot better than most autistic children with a lot milder dx's.

But it's WRONG to sit there and post how glorious it is and how it's ok that they should be stuck in group homes in the end. And they will be, one day I will no longer be able to take care of him, one day I will be DEAD!!! Period.

It's not OK.... It's not OK that he will live without independance. To claim otherwise is WRONG, very, very WRONG!!!! It's OK to lock people up?? Do you have any idea how many children are in group homes, autistic children that parents cannot care for them?? Then let's add in the adults... Have you ever been in an ASD classroom?? I'm just lucky mine is so easy going with the severity of his dx so we never had to go that route.

I travelled 3000 km's to visit this wonderful woman http://irishwhiskey66.blogspot.com/ and it's OK that they took her son to get shoes and he beat them in public?? He's not a child... he's a teenager. He can seriously do harm.

It's wonderful that you have such "mild" children. I noticed you never posted that half of my comment about my "mild" son that is technically 'cured" b/c he will be independant. Nor my comment that autism curing isn't about brain transplants. No instead you just tell me I'm a horrible parent and I should just love my son and only look at the good stuff. HUH?? Talk about buring your head in the sand. I guess you haven't set up your will properly... there's a soul destroying process trying to decide who's going to be trustee etc when you aren't here. Who do you trust as much as you do yourself?? NOBODY!!!

My youngest son is adorable. He's doing amazing in his new class, in his new school... but his outcome will not be independance short of a major miracle no matter how well he reads or spells... What happens at 21??? Actually, due to his high academic level, what happens at 14 when they want to put him in with the MR/ID's and "train" him instead of with support in with the "regular" kids??

Train him for what? Curing is all about INDEPENDANCE!!!! My eldest is "autistic" and will forever be "autistic" but he will be INDEPENDANT... is not the younger entitled to be INDEPENDANT too?? Or is he still not entitled to a voice and should sit and shut up over there in the corner???

kathleen said...

Someone didn't read the whole post.....again.

KWombles said...

FW2, although I added to my post to address some of the concerns you raised at Emily's, it sure wasn't about YOU and what kind of parent you were. In fact the main body of the post was the comment I left before you ever commented over there. Why is it that you seem to think people's posts are about YOU and your parenting?

Thanks for taking a post that was about my kids and focusing on what they're capable of and working to make them as successful as possible and taking a dump on it, because that is exactly what you just did, and it's the reason I added to the post: I knew based on what you had written over at Emily's that you would do the same here.

My son, while certainly there are more disabled individuals out there, is significantly impacted by his autism and his intellectual disability. He's not going to be independEnt. He's not going to work. He's not going to drive. He's not going to live on his own. And, if you hadn't already decided to wander in here and take that dump, you wouldn't have written that harangue.

You can choose to wander around the webosphere and take the metaphorical dumps that you cycle through, and that's fine. If that helps you, I'm glad. But I'm gonna be blunt, if it does help you, you might want to consider what that says about your values and about how you treat other people. I don't know, maybe you save your venting for relative strangers.

There's much my son can't do. And, no, in the grand scheme of things, it's not fair. And maybe that's what you're railing at. Maybe you mistake other people's desires to focus on the good while working to overcome the challenges as denying the reality that not everyone reaches that magical state of curedness or that wonderful independence. Your problem, though, is you're fighting against strawmen and setting up false dilemmas. It's bullshit, and I think at rock bottom you know that; you just don't care.

You know what? Given a choice between my son walking around as an open, oozing wound waiting to spill puss onto whomever is closest or the young man in the picture who is happy and safe, even though he can't work a job, he can't drive a car, he can't live alone, I do believe I'll choose that sweet young man I've spent nearly 21 years parenting, busting my ass to give him the tools he needs so he can be happy, he can be safe, and he can have a good life.

And you, from your little neck in the woods, don't get to pass judgment on the severity of my children's dis-abilities or abilities. I didn't dwell on their issues or difficulties in this post. Did you miss the title? I wrote about their cans, their shining lights.

I don't assume what kind of parent you are, but I can make assumptions about your character based on the last eighteen months of reading your comments. I'm sorry that you appear to be going through a rough time right now. I really am. You should know that the moms whose blogs you frequent would be more than happy to show you support and friendship, and in fact, even though you may not get it, we already are.

Lyn said...

I like your attitude of focusing on the cans. Your kids sound like wonderful people.