It was a crisp Saturday morning in November. I took my daughter to a park where a bird watching club was meeting. We were late and couldn’t find anyone, so we ventured on our own to see what kind of birds we could find. Have you ever looked for something while looking through binoculars? Birds are typically small creatures that move about quite a bit. Trying to locate a bird while looking through binoculars can make one dizzy. I learned this quickly on my first bird watching adventure. It’s best to locate the bird without the binoculars and then look through the binoculars. But what if you saw the world as if you were looking through binoculars all of the time? There is so much to take in! You don’t have peripheral vision. It can be overwhelming and anxiety provoking if you are being pressured to see the whole picture.
I have high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is how I see the world. It has been difficult because I miss so much that everyone else seems to see. Then people accuse me of being insensitive, cold, or stupid. It causes me anxiety, however, there are times it prevents anxiety. You see, at the moment there are several stress provoking circumstances occurring in my world. Because I can only focus on one thing at a time, and each of these circumstances requires me to focus, I simply do just that. Whatever I need to address at any particular moment, I focus all of my attention on that one issue, blocking out everything else. Most people can’t do that. They are perpetually aware of all stressful circumstances and have an even more difficult time coping. There are times I am frustrated by my differences, and then there are times like these that I can appreciate how God made me.
I believe all five of my children fall somewhere on the Autism Spectrum. They are each so unique. My husband is the only neurotypical in our home. I often find myself trying to help him understand how we see the world so that he can relate better to our children and me. The world needs to identify the people who have high functioning autism for many reasons. I grew up not realizing I was a square peg living in a round peg world. For nearly 40 years I, along with others, kept pounding and pounding me trying to get me to fit into a round hole. I have been traumatized many times over in my life. So much pain could have been avoided. I could have recognized and channeled my strengths so much earlier in my life. I see many (too many really) people on the spectrum that have an incredible amount of intelligence, skill, and potential that lays dormant, never to be used to better this world. It is so sad to see these people think they are useless pieces of trash simply because they don’t fit in with everyone else. What if we created more square holes? And then guided these fellow square pegs to be used in such holes?
Why get my kids diagnosed? You may ask. You have probably heard the phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child”. It’s true! And even neurotypical parents realize that. Well since I have autism and I see the world through binoculars, I can’t possibly identify and accommodate or address every area of weakness in each individual unique child that I have. I need help! I need services for myself and for my kids, so that 1) they can reach their full potential, without wasting their God given strengths simply because they think or see things differently than most of the world. 2) They can avoid unnecessary pain. I can’t protect my kids from all painful experiences. I don’t want to. They grow and become amazing people through trials and hardship. But that doesn’t mean I am going to push my kids into traffic!
People think that because they don’t experience our autism very much, so that must mean we don’t experience it. That’s not true! We subconsciously hide it. We don’t want to be different than those around us. Most of us know by the time we are 6, that if we are too different we are teased, labeled, attacked, mocked, the list could go on. We see that and we struggle internally. Sometimes the pain becomes so intense we explode emotionally. So just because we are good at hiding it, that means we are “cured”? We don’t need services, understanding, accommodations, different expectations? I am starting this blog for many reasons. I have several unique and difficult circumstances that I have or am dealing with. Many people have suggested I write a book. Who knows, maybe this is a precursor to my first novel. I have heard, and I believe that God never wastes a hurt. So I am choosing to use my hurt to help others heal and maybe not fall in the same pits I have. So here it goes. August 19, 2019, this is my first post. I look forward to sharing my life as I see it, “through binoculars”.