Dylan is 13 and we have ‘officially’ had autism in our family since he was diagnosed aged 7. At first it was a way for us to explain our ‘problems’ and what we saw as Dylan’s ‘differences’ to each other, to family members and to outsiders. Now, autism is so much more and has become a constantly evolving process which often, for us, goes against the rigid stereotypes it purports.
For us – autism has become a positive; a way to challenge both our own and others’ preconceptions. We wish people knew that autism:
- Isn’t only about the routines but the surprises. Of our son not wanting to swim in the lake for days and then appearing from the tent one morning and running down to the water.
- Is not only about meltdowns but make ups. Of all our children, Dylan is the one that will not sulk, or hold a grudge. He apologises, makes friends and moves on.
- Is not about the same days but new experiences. Of travelling around Europe, trekking through Scotland, camping in Canada. As long as some things stay the same, Dylan is open to new experiences. Although maybe not Niagara Falls…
We wish people knew that Dylan:
- Is often more sociable than the rest of his family. When we tired of his 15th game of Uno on the beach he approached a Croatian family and played with them for the rest of the afternoon.
- Is not Dustin Hoffman. Yes, he knows football stats and it’s all he is interested in but the same can be said for many 13 year olds…
We wish people knew that we don’t ever hope that one day Dylan will not have autism. It is part of who he is, who he was and who he will always be.