As a Chicken Soup co-author I’m always looking for your stories to share with everyone else. Not too long ago I did a “call out” to my members asking for heartwarming stories and was overwhelmed with over 2500 submissions. I know you will enjoy hearing from others so I am going to be sharing them with you on a weekly basis. Here is the eighth one from Caroline Washington!
Judging a Book by its Cover
(By Caroline Washington)
That saying was told to me as a child, but it’s a saying some of us have forgotten. When I go out with my son in public most people automatically assume that I am a bad mother because Uriah has tantrums in public. My son is a normal little boy in so many ways, but I know that my Child has Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Uriah was diagnosed with Autism in June of 2000. As a mother, I felt guilty because I thought it was caused by something I had done. Of course, now I realize that I couldn’t have done anything to control the Autism. Yet, that doesn’t stop the hurt that I feel. With Autism, I find myself struggling to keep my child’s life as normal and stress-free as possible.
Like many, I had never heard of this disorder before 2000. It took a neurological doctor to explain that it is a developmental disability. Uriah’s mind works like a two and half year olds. He has little or no speech, he tantrums a lot, which has led to a behavioral problem. As a mother, I want him to experience the same things other kids do, but I find it hard to do so. Not because the kids aren’t accepting of his Autism, but because of the adults. I guess they feel that if Uriah plays with their kids in the park, then their kids might become “special” too! Things like that have not stopped me from taking Uriah out, I just explain to them that Uriah’s brain works a little different from everybody else’s.
In December of 2000, I decided to leave my job to care for him full-time. It hasn’t been easy going from a two income household down to one. I guess, in my mind, there was going to be a system set up to help me financially. I quickly discovered there wasn’t. In the beginning, Uriah had qualified for SSI disability, but when my husband received a raise at work he was cut off.
My son is now in a public school program for special needs children and I keep being told he could use extra speech and occupational therapy, something my husband’s insurance does not cover. I find myself working with flash cards and the like at home, hoping this will help until his Autism Waiver is approved. (I have been told this can take up to seven years). I never regret that Uriah is here, because I realize that my son gives me a purpose.
My life’s joy is to help Uriah succeed in whatever he wants to do now and in the future, and to let other people know that when they see a child acting out in the store or whatever, don’t just assume it’s bad parenting. It just maybe a special child acting out…and they cannot help themselves. That’s why it’s not good to Judge a Book by its Cover.