That might seem like a strange thing to say: I wish she was more autistic. But let me explain.
I was at a cafe today and sat at another table were a couple, grandparents I think, with a boy of about 7 or 8, who was being spoon fed and sat and clapped before every sip of his drink. The boy was obviously autistic and from where I was sitting the only looks they were getting were compassionate.
Now let’s put Tulip in the same situation. She’s talking loudly, she’s climbing under or over the tables, she’s stealing food off everyone else’s plates and she’s got her fingers up her nose. What kind of looks do you think we get? Disapproving stares, that’s what.
Sometimes the things we have to deal with, with Tulip, just look like naughtiness. And sometimes I forget that she’s not being naughty, but it’s her ASD. When she’s stealing food, bullying her brother and sister, tormenting the cat, did I mention the fingers up the nose, hands in her pants, yelling really loudly, clambering everywhere and touching everything it doesn’t ‘look’ autistic. It looks naughty. And some of those behaviours are no doubt linked to her ADHD as well. But sometimes I wish she presented more autistic traits. Or that her stims were less socially objectionable. Nobody minds the child flapping and clapping. No one can stand the kid with her fingers up her nose, in her mouth, slurp, back to her nose.
When I say I wish she were more autistic what I actually mean is I wish that the way she presented was more obviously autistic and less a badly behaved. Obviously I don’t wish her to struggle with the world anymore than she already does. But I feel she would get more sympathy and recognition if her behaviour were more identifiable as autistic traits than it is at present.
I hope that makes sense. It’s just one of the disadvantages of having a high functioning autistic child. I daresay a mother with a child who is non verbal and incontinent would rather their child have the abilities mine has. But we all fight individual battles in this war that is Autism. And we all have to cope in our own way and have sore spots. One of my ways of coping is to express it here. Writing it out helps me make sense of my thoughts and feelings.