Why Your Difficult Kid isn’t a Counterexample to Acceptance

So I am entirely for Autism acceptance. I want to be accepted over my difficulties and praised for my accomplishments.

But I’m capable of meeting a lot of neurotypical expectations. I can preform well in mainstream society. I struggle, but it’s not the hardest thing to do to accept me.

Some people assume that when Autistics like me say we want acceptance, we mean for us. We mean it for the Autistics who do not present our autism as profoundly. Those of us who can pass, can make our way with minimal need for assistance. Not those other Autistics.

Not that Autistic. Not that difficult child.

Actually, I do. I mean acceptance for all of us. Let me rephrase;

I am entirely for  comprehensive Autism acceptance.

You might be wondering why I make this apparent leap. Accepting profoundly disabled Autistics? Have you ever met a profoundly disabled Autistic? Surely you’ve never worked with one.

Actually, I have. Let me tell you about my respite kiddo Sam (name changed for privacy).

Sam is hard to work with. Sam takes a lot of patience. There are days when I don’t want to go to work.

Sam has chewed on me. Sam likes to squeeze and pinch, to press their face into the side of my arm so hard that, usually, I have bruises. Sam doesn’t talk much. It can be next to impossible to figure out what they want.

They are. A difficult. Kid.

And I adore the heck out of them, and it would make me happier than I could possibly describe for them to be accepted in their home, in the world, as not broken or damaged, but as Sam the Autistic Kiddo.

Yeah, Sam has hurt me. But they’ve never done so because they’re mad, at least not as far as I can tell. They squeeze their face against my arm, they chew, they pinch, because that’s how they stim; that’s how they experience the world; that is how they communicate.

And they don’t talk much. We haven’t been able to get them to type, write, or use AAC reliably. But they did so good in speech therapy today, and maybe that’s how they want to communicate, they just need help. But I wish they had to the acceptance around them so they could fully use alternative communication, fully try it out.

But they did so good in speech therapy, and they looked so happy with their super infectious smile and I was so proud of this kid.

I was also proud when they were drawing and telling me what they were drawing. They tried really, really hard to pronounce keyboard like I did. (And their drawing of a computer was pretty good).

But I’m also proud when they flap their hands, or when they spontaneously sing that terrible gummy bear song, or when they type “peppapig” into a search bar on the phone (I’d gamble that that pig is their special interest). I’m not just proud when they succeed at playing neurotypical. I’m proud of their Autistic intricacies as well.

And that’s why I want them accepted. There are parts of them that are working towards looking neurotypical, and perfectly Autistic aspects of their personality. Both things are valid and I want both to be seen as the real, authentic, Sam.

Even if some of those parts can be hard to deal with. Just because something’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s bad; that’d have people curing calculus and dancing.

You have to accept the parts of life that are difficult. And f you do, you might find that you love them.

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