Autism looks like a circus—with every act performed on the high wire. No safety net, and no ringleader to tell you what’s coming next. It’s lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). It’s funny clowns and daredevils on motorcycles. It’s flame-throwers and trapeze artists. Only this circus doesn’t end, and when you look back, you can’t even figure out when it started. It just sort of happened, and here you are.
There’s the scary side: night-terrors; sleepwalking; violent meltdowns; only eating foods of certain colors, textures, or shapes. Autism is messy. It’s your child flipping out over a display of cherry pies in the grocery store, and then finishing your shopping after he’s rolled around in the mess. It’s strangers telling you what a horrible mother because your child is having a meltdown.
Autism is terrifying. Fear that one night he’ll sleepwalk out of the house. Fear that one day he’ll hurt himself or someone else. Fear of never finding answers and making the wrong choices.
Autism is expensive. There are the costs of therapy, driving to see specialists and doctors, and buying the equipment—weighted blankets, swings, harnesses.
But autism is also beautiful. Getting to hear my once mute child say “I love you mommy” for the first time on Mother’s Day. It’s the intent concentration while he lines up his cars or dinosaurs. It’s the way you get to see the world now. It’s the world’s most amazing circus.
By Desiree Purvis, mom of Kaleb, 5, and Mason, 2