xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: Autism dreams

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Autism dreams

I had this dream last night that I was with the boys at what was probably a school (not our school, we weren't familiar with it) and we were all hanging out in the library. Child 1 was lining up books and making a BART track and Child 2 was playing on his iPod.

At some point, I don't know exactly why, I took Child 2's iPod away from him (probably because he was yelling curses at it) and he got mad at me and ran out. On my way out to find him I ran into a group of people who I think was our IEP team. They informed me that we were finally going to have that meeting I've been wanting and let's go into this conference room and close the door.

I objected, because I needed to go find Child 2 and make sure he was okay. He was probably locked up in one of these classrooms crying his eyes out. They let me check a few rooms but the clear message was that I needed to go into the conference room immediately or the meeting would never happen.

I felt panicky, because I didn't know where he was. In my dream mind I thought that it was likely that he had found some kids, had forgotten all about being mad at me and was probably having a great time (this is very likely). But the pressure was on and I was being asked to make a choice: my NT kid's needs vs. my autistic kid's needs.

In the non dream world of course this seems silly; the answer is to say screw the meeting I need to go and find my kid. In the dream world things are never that simple and I don't actually know what I ended up doing. I either made a choice or the dream morphed into something else and suddenly we were at our house but it wasn't our house, it was McDonalds, or something like that. But I woke up pondering what my subconscious was telling me.

Do I feel pressure to make a choice between my kids, because of their different needs? I don't feel internal pressure, but I have to say that there is external pressure towards all autism parents. The choice isn't as specific as one kid over the other, it is between the autism world vs. the non autism world.  We're supposed to be looking at the world as if autism is the only thing that exists in it. We're supposed to be activists on behalf of the autism community, and if we're not then we're doing something wrong. This reality, that autism is all encompassing, is certainly true for some people; people who are autistic themselves or who do not have typically developing kids, but in general it is not true for the majority of autism parents. We have other kids, we have other things going on, we can't give up our entire lives to autism acceptance; some of us are just trying to make it from one day to the next, we don't even have any choices at all.

I don't like that pressure, not just because I don't agree with it, but because it is MY choice how I raise my kids and live my life. I object to the idea that somebody who doesn't know me would judge me as lacking simply because I don't toe their particular line. I have my own line, and my responsibility is first and foremost to my family.

I wish I could go back into the dream and tell those people that they can fuck their meeting because I'm going to go find my NT kid. Sure, he doesn't have the same issues and needs as his brother, but he has issues and needs of his own and I will not choose one or the other. I will respect them both for who they are and what they need, for as long as we all live.