“I’m so glad God took autism away from my son, because He knew that I couldn’t handle it,” my friend said to me over the plate of crudités years ago. She must not have been looking at me when she said this, because I could feel my face visibly blanch and my eyes narrow. “Uh huh,” I replied, not quite knowing what to say.
(Well, I know what I wanted to say. But I’m hoping my mom reads my blog. It starts with an “F” and ends with a “you”.)
Unlike Conor, their son never regressed. He was just simply behind in his development in many areas and was diagnosed with autism. Our friends placed him in some classes specially designed for children with autism and developmental delays.
Bada bip, bada boom, a few years of special education and their son zipped right through, gathering speed and making progress like nobody’s business.
They didn’t do anything but put their child in an appropriately structured classroom and lickity split, a few years later, he’s off the charts.
Meanwhile, we’ve tried everything. I’m talking years of grueling therapy, both behavioral and biomedical. Gluten free/casein free/corn free/soy free diet (yes, it helped), gastrointestinal medications, prescriptions to help him sleep, anti-inflammatories, supplements, 1:1 direct instruction 5 hours a day at home, social skills groups, dyads, triads, Applied Behavioral Analysis, Relationship Development Intervention, horseback riding therapy, craniosacral therapy.
It’s been an uphill battle.
So when my friend said she couldn’t handle autism, that her prayers had been answered, you could say I was a little angry. I can’t handle autism either, lady. What do I look like, supermom? (Insert snort here.)
Why does her kid get to recover and mine struggles despite our best efforts? Lots of parents pray their hearts out… and nothing. I mean, my parents have probably said 5,000 novenas on Conor’s behalf by now. We’re not religious, but if you want to give it a go on our behalf, by all means, please do so. Can’t hurt.
I haven’t talked to our friend in awhile. Not because of her comment; I don’t think she even realized how much it hurt. People get busy, lives take different paths. But my husband just spoke to her husband recently, to catch up.
Turns out their son has started struggling again and most likely will have to go back to some form of special education.
Yeah, I know, it sucks.