My Child Has Autism…

Kelly V. Russell

My child has autism … and I, as his mother, have never felt so isolated in my life.

My son has severe speech delays. This is why he doesn’t talk to you.

Why don’t you speak to him?

My son perceives the world in a unique manner. This is why he plays with toys in an abnormal way.

Why don’t you play with him?

My son has difficulty understanding social cues. This is why he avoids eye contact.

Why do you stare at him like he’s an animal in a zoo?

…Or even worse, ignore him, as if he’s not a human being.

Being his mother does not make me a saint, though sometimes I feel like a martyr.

His condition does not mean that God entrusted me with a special blessing. Autism means he was born with a formidable glitch in his hardware … a glitch I wish daily that I could fix.

The blessing I receive is when people invite us to events — even when we’re unable to attend and they know this ahead of time.

I feel blessed when people ask how my son is doing — even when I have no good news to relate and this is evident by my countenance and bearing.

I may not be able to get together with you, whether because I feel beaten down by this neurological demon on that plagues my dear child or simply because of time constraints … but please don’t stop reaching out to me! Sometimes just knowing you’re there is exactly the lifeline I need to get me through the day.

I may not always participate in idle chatter, whether because I’m dwelling on my child’s very real and significant challenges or simply because I’m tired … but please don’t stop talking to me! Sometimes I need to be reminded that a world exists outside of autism.

My child has autism … and I, as his mother, have never felt so isolated in my life.

And I need you.