That’s what I kept hearing when I was voicing my concerns about Paris showing early signs to family and moms in mom groups on Facebook. Why not? Her label of autistic is what allowed us to get her speech and occupational therapy at 2. It’s what has helped me know exactly what to research to help support her sensory needs. It’s also what helped me realize Riley and I showed signs of autism. When I voiced this to friends and family, we were met once again with, “Don’t claim that” and “Why label yourself with that this late if you are fine. Well, one, I don’t have a problem with disability labels because I don’t have a problem with differences. I maintain those who fear disability labels fear diversity of any kind. Two, I’ve never been “just fine”, I’ve been masking my entire life. There is nothing wrong with being autistic but a lot of autistic people need support. Why would I deprived myself of support that could help me be greater than I already am. Due to our unique experience that I detailed in my post about Paris’ early signs, we believe in Neurodiversity. What is Neurodiversity?
“Neurodiversity is the idea that neurological differences like autism and ADHD are the result of normal, natural variation in the human genome. This represents a new and fundamentally different way of looking at conditions that were traditionally pathologized; it’s a viewpoint that is not universally accepted, although it is increasingly supported by science. That science suggests that conditions like autism have a stable prevalence in human society as far back as we can measure. We are realizing that autism, ADHD, and other conditions emerge through a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental interaction; they are not the result of disease or injury. “ –John Elder Robison
Neurological disorders aren’t a curse and there isn’t a cure, instead think of it as a natural variation like blue eyes, or bad eyesight. No one told me, “Don’t claim that”, after my eye exam when it was decided I needed glasses. No one told me, “Don’t claim that”, when I was prescribed Zyrtec because of my seasonal allergies. We need more acceptance, support, accommodations, and empathy.
Both of my girls are autistic. We saw early signs in both before they were 12 months. They have the same mother and father, are 15 months apart, and yet their autism manifests completely different. I, their mother am autistic, yet it manifests completely different within me. It is part of who we are and how we interact with the world and I love us.