What’s the big deal about autism and special needs anyway?
Well, for one, according to the CDC, 1 in 68 children are on the autism spectrum, and 1 in 42 of them are boys. They also share data that says one in six (ONE IN SIX, friends!) children have some type of developmental delay. That’s a pretty big deal, if you ask me.
It’s a pretty big deal.
And yet, it’s not.
My son’s developmental delays put him on the autism spectrum. He’s got fairly severe speech and language delays, fine motor skill delays, sensory processing issues, nut allergies, is controlling and a bit OCD, has self-regulation and boundary challenges, and, well, some other stuff, too. Much of his stuff looks like autism.
But those things? They’re mostly not a big deal. While they are issues that need support, guidance, and encouragement, they don’t really have much to do with who he is.
Because while some of Tucker’s challenges look like autism, he does not. He just looks like Tucker.
He’s him, and he’s my definition of love.
My little boy Tucker is full of light. Magic. Hope. He’s full of mischief, he’s funny, and he’s sensitive. He loves. He’s affectionate, and compassionate. He’s caring, playful, and beautiful, on the inside and out.
So I ask, if one in 42 boys falls on the autism spectrum, what’s the big deal?
Shouldn’t that mean that they’re almost the norm, these days? Shouldn’t that mean that, as part of the wide rainbow of life, that children with autism and developmental delays are just part of the picture? That there are so many of them, that singling them out for something that does not define them would be cruel and even a bit silly?
You’d think so. But we still need awareness. Acceptance. Today, tomorrow, and on all of the days.
This is Tucker. He is, as you can see, many things.
I never did get the big deal about autism and special needs. Until they entered my life.
And I will spend the rest of it trying, in all of the ways, to raise acceptance for my little boy, and people like him. And for people completely different from him.
Because that’s what it’s all about.
And, please, if you have a moment, check out, and share if you feel it, my posts on Autism Speaks this week.
Note: the 10 things post is the most viral I’ve ever gone and I thank you all for that. The 8 things….being as yesterday was world autism awareness day, Autism Speaks’ website was wonky, and they didn’t post on social media until today. So if you commented or shared when it was new, I thank you, although I am not able to do so publicly there, as their site MUNCHED ATE your comments and likes. Still. THANK YOU. You people fucking rock.