When it comes to being both an autistic adult and a mother to autistic children, there are many struggles as well as benefits. Our family consists of six neurodiverse individuals, with me and three of our children having autism diagnosis. People often feel sorry for us. Others respond with comments wondering why we would keep having children knowing the others are autistic. A few have even been baffled to find out that someone with autism can have children.
While our family dynamic is far from perfect, it is incredible. Our children talk to us about everything, both the good and the bad. We accept each other as we are while pushing each other to grow and learn. We love, we laugh, we cry, and we annoy each other, just like any other family.
What might set us apart, are that there are things you will find in our home that you might not find in yours. We have visual schedules throughout our home. There are charts with emotions that can be pointed to when we cannot express those verbally. Each room has its own calm down corner with sensory toys, noise canceling headphones, time timers, and other tools throughout.
As a child, I knew I was different. However, I was not sure why or what that difference was. It was not until the age of thirty-three that I understood: I am autistic. Like many women my age, autism was a diagnosis that was unheard of for girls. Autism was not even a word in my vocabulary until the age of 15.
The one thing I did know, even from an early age, was that I was going to be a mother and a writer. I knew I wanted daughters so that I could dress them in matching pink dresses. The picture in my mind of being a writer included sitting in front of an antique typewriter, typing away. While my journey to achieve those life, accomplishments was rather different than what I imagined, I did reach those goals and then some.