“What do they know about autism?”
We could not believe that a friend of a friend who has a child with nonverbal autism had the audacity to question what we know about autism. We brushed it under the carpet at first but the remark really began to eat at us. What did she mean by this? Aren’t we all in the trenches?
At first, we were indignant. We felt attacked like our struggles were invalidated or nonexistent. Then, we decided to change our interpretation and view this comment as a back handed compliment. Perhaps it was a testimony to how far our children have come.
We went for our morning walk and dug a little deeper. Were we guilty of judging other mothers’ autism struggles too? Sadly, the honest answer is yes.
We reminded each other of the many times we have said “cry me a river… what do they know about autism?” when referring to families struggling with Asperger’s.
We realized that, just like in high school, there may be a “pecking order” in the autism world. For us, the Aspie kids are the “in crowd” that we all longed to be a part of.
Why do we have this perception that Asperger’s is the better autism? Do those parents really have it any easier than us? Probably not. Their struggles are different but not easier.
Our conclusion: all autism is hard PERIOD.