It is inevitable that a group of moms, gathered together in the late hours of an evening, are going to talk about their kids. It is also inevitable that a group of moms who all have kids with Autism are going to talk about their experiences with Autism.
What surprised me this past weekend, as I sat with friends around my wine laden dining room table, was how much we talked about our neuro-typical kids. Not that we don't talk about them in general, but these were conversations about our struggles with our NT kids. We compared melt-downs, discussed sensitivities, commisserated about difficult social situations. Sounds familiar, right? Each of those could be chapter titles in any "living with Autism" book. So why did we spend so much time trying to figure out what to do with our NT children, aren't those supposed to be the easy ones?
The way I figure it, those of us with loved ones on the Autism Spectrum spend so much time learning all there is to know about that world. We research and advocate. We rearrange our lives and our homes to make them inclusive in every sense. We cook for a special (and limited) diet. We surround ourselves with activity schedules, therapists, playgroups, and IEPs. We know how to live with Autism.
Autism has become our normal.
So the new challenge is to learn about dealing with the needs of our other kids. The ones the world says are normal. The ones that can seem, in many ways, so much more difficult to us. Because, though we live with Autism, we live with our NT kids, too. And they deserve just as much effort.