Standing Alone?

No One Said It Would Be Easy

The old cliche states, “Stand for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone.” No where is this more true than in parenting, especially if you are the parent of a differently-abled child. No matter the ability….a little or a lot. The opinions and suggestions seem to come with the indignation that any intelligence of your own existed before.

They mean well. They want to help. They often are talking to the point that you are powerless to their words.. It is easier to just nod than attempt any form of a sentence that would suggest that you are of at least average intelligence and have done some research. I do not mean ill to these people, but the willingness to listen half as much as they talk would be welcome.
Some have even noticed that attempts at sentence structure has been greeted with the abruptness of being cutoff as if a car suddenly careening in front of you. No chance to communicate, just simply slamming on the brakes.

There are also those who truly do listen. There are those that offer a willing ear, great information or a true sense that you are okay and you’re going to be okay. We are not perfect; we’ve never pretended to be. Some of these situations are new to us. It seems like we are in a foreign land without a guide, guidebook, or even a little book to translate.

One thing that some parents hesitate on is that little feeling you get when something just doesn’t seem right. Call it intuition, sixth sense, or just a gut feeling. Whatever you call it, trust it. You may feel like the salmon swimming upstream. While working their way upstream from a lifetime of planning these moments, they battle not only the typical flow of the river but also such obstacles as eagles, bears, and yes, even humans.

Those that are lucky to make it to the end, leave behind the legacy for the next generation. A legacy built on working hard through not giving up. To everything there is a purpose, a plan, and a meaning. You may not see it at the time, but in months or years you look back and the pieces fall in place. Only then does it start to become clear. The salmon, doing a ritual out of pure instinct and using every ounce of strength they have, swims against the current for a most purposeful reason.

When faced with that immovable mountain of issues or the torrent of information being sent your way, don’t give in to the pressure that some might place. Stand firm, ask questions, and do your research. When given a set of options, weigh the choices and ask if there are other options. If the answer seems suspicious, research more. There are times that research means going up the ladder.

You may never know why choices are made by others; you may never know the reasoning behind it. What you do know in your heart that you are doing the best for your child because there are those that may never “get it”, may never understand, and quite honestly, may never want to.

For the times you receive questions and suggestions, one must do more than just sigh. If we are to one day see a time that our children are accepted for who they are and not forced into a cookie cutter world of monotony, then we must continue to educate. We have learned along our pathway of Autism; if others are willing, we can share what we have learned.

From time to time, you will more than likely get the “Why don’t you……..” question. If you haven’t yet, it is surely coming. Those that have received this question, though the mind is surely spinning with answer they’d like to say, will stay silent or give a politically correct response. Some mean well, some are hard core and have other motives in mind.

Over time with salmon as with our children researchers study patterns in hopes of making As for the “why don’t you” questions and suggestions…..check them out. Are they worthy? Do they appear outdated? Are they possibly useful for your situation? Or for the circumstances….a total mis-step that would backfire?

There may be times when an idea might have merit, be worth a chance to check out, and give it a try. As our children grow, we know that they will change and surprise us along the way. We work with them to try something new, so also must we give a valid idea a try. It will show promise or we endure the consequences of a fail, but we gave it a chance.

The one solid thought I have through it all is that in your heart of hearts, you have that gut feeling about things. You also want to travel your own path. While others offer sage advice or wisdom that they have gained, if your inner self says that you should stick with your choice, then trust it. Right or wrong, you will learn from it either way, but many of those times, you will be the one that knows your child the best,