Happy Mother’s Day
Today is Mother’s Day. I’m not used to being celebrated myself because I still feel like I’m the one who should be calling my mom to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. The reality is I’m a mom too. A young mom, but a mom twice over. Charlie made me a mother 4 years ago and other than being born with 6 fingers on his right hand (one of which has since been removed), he was healthy as can be.
The Autism Diagnosis
Two years later, Charlie was diagnosed with autism.
Our journey has been hard, and the first year following his autism diagnosis was difficult. Between 2 and 3, most children start to verbally interact with their parents. I was watching my friends kids do all those things I had dreamt about doing with my son but Charlie wasn’t doing any of it. In fact, he was regressing. I had friends whose kids were autistic too but their struggles were completely different than ours. I had no one I could relate to. It was lonely.
Those damn tests and assessments
Charlie failed assessment after assessment, always scoring at the bottom of the scale – the 1st percentile. These test results used to affect me, a lot, until one day… it’s like something switched in me. I changed my perspective on the matter, I started seeing autism and all those tests from a different perspective. Today is Mother’s Day so I want to look back on that day because I strongly believe this was a changing moment for me. It’s the day I decided I couldn’t keep mourning the child I thought I would have – the day I realized how important it was for me, and for Charlie, that we focus on his abilities as much as we focus on his disabilities.
Around one year ago, I wrote this letter to Charlie, and you can read it here now.
A letter to the little boy who made me a mom
Today was one of those days. We got the results back from your PPCD speech assessment. They evaluated your ability to communicate. If your delays in speech and communication were significant enough, you’d be eligible to attend the special-needs classroom. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that you would qualify. Still it hit me kinda hard when the speech therapist called back with the results. You scored in the 1st and 2nd percentiles for the two speech and communication tests. The bottom of the scale. “The gap is quite severe”, she said.
You know what Charlie? Those tests are stupid. Albert Einstein said, “If you judge a fish by its inability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid”.
I wish they would have evaluated your amazing ability to sort objects by size and color! I wish they’d evaluate your creativity when playing with blocks and the shapes you make. I wish they would evaluate your ability to make high towers and be so delicate when doing so. I wish they would evaluate your great taste in music.
Your inability to communicate and speak doesn’t define you. Autism doesn’t define you. You are unique, and you can do so much more than they saw at first glance. Let’s just forget about the numbers and focus on what you can do. I have a feeling that one day you will show them – one day you will tell them what you can really do.
I love you,