Hello, and welcome to Stacking Blocks. My name is Joel. My wife, Christa and I have two sons – Declan and Silas. Declan is autistic. Silas is neurotypical. As of writing this, Declan recently turned four years old and Silas turned two. Autism has been a part of our life for over two-and-a-half years at this point and is our normal.
Our days consist of lots of things that most families’ days are made up of: waking up, eating breakfast, getting ready for work, going to the gym, grocery shopping and all of the other day-to-day activities that fill time really well. Our days are also consumed by driving to and from therapies, participating in therapies, meetings with occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, early education experts, conversations about eating and feeding difficulties, game planning for making potty training the least stressful experience possible to avoid back sliding into a poop covered existence. Many things that aren’t necessarily typical or normal.
But it is our normal. All of it is our normal now. You may be the parent of an autistic child. You may be the sibling to an autistic brother or sister or have an extended family member or friend who has autism as a part of their lives. Or you may have stumbled upon these words randomly. Unfortunately, there is definitely still a certain stigma when autism is brought up. It’s so mysterious. It’s so unknown. It’s so different in every person it touches. And if you notice those last few sentences, it’s always referred to as its own entity, like the flu or like any other disease or ailment that affects people when in actuality it’s quite different. At its roots autism is a sensory processing disorder. Some people with autism experience things incredibly magnified and some very very dulled. Some can not regulate and some are so flat lined that they appear to be catatonic. Autism is a very individualized condition. It’s different for every child, adolescent and adult who is affected.
I believe that a big part of why people are generally so uncomfortable honestly talking about autism is because of the air of mystery surrounding it. Because each case is so unique. Because there is no cure-all and most of all, because there is no definitive known cause. If you get sick, injured or experience another ailment, it is almost always attributable to a cause. That is not so with autism. What causes it is as much a mystery as the condition itself. Is it genetic? Yes, possibly, but not all the time. Is it environmental? Yes, possibly, but due to which factors? Is it due to medication or drug use prior to conception? Maybe, sometimes. Is it something in utero? Again, could be… So you have this condition that people don’t understand, they don’t know where it comes from or what causes it and they don’t understand why it is the way it is… of course they’re going to be uncomfortable talking about it.
It is my job as Declan’s dad to do my very best to make people aware of who Declan is. I want to do this not only for his benefit, but for other families out there who have experienced difficulties due to lack of understanding. For the people out there who don’t understand how to talk to others about their autistic child and who want to understand. It is my job as Declan and Silas’s dad to make the world better for my boys.
I so look forward to sharing our experiences and hearing about others’ as well. Thank you for stopping here and thank you for reading.
Once again, welcome to Stacking Blocks.