what autistic looks like

~

By now I would imagine that most of you are familiar with the recent story about 50 Cent’s egregious misstep on Twitter and the autism community’s swift response.

For those not wholly obsessed with immersed in our world, however,  I offer you the thirty-second sound bite version.

@yung_raditz, one of 50 Cents’s nearly seven million – yes, MILLION –  followers, tweeted the following to him ..

@50cent Release the album or get shot again

Mr .. um .. Cent responded by retweeting  @yung_raditz’s tweet, but not without adding the following ‘jibe’ ..

‘yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic’

In case that weren’t enough, he then followed up  with a second tweet to @yung_raditz …

‘I don’t want no special ed kids on my time line follow some body else’

And so it began.

Holly Robinson Peete, responded by writing a fabulous open letter to 50 Cent.

In that letter, she wrote, “I hope you can see how what you might see as a benign insult-or not- was so randomly hurtful, immature and misinformed. Maybe you are naive or indifferent as to how many of your fans might be deeply and personally offended by your insult. At the very least-can you please delete it? If you’ve read your mentions today I am sure you have felt the wrath of autism parents. We are no joke. Neither is autism. We are not about to let you attempt to make “autistic” the new “R-word” under our watch.”

She followed up with a photo of her beautiful son, Rodney. “Finally,” she wrote, “this is my son Rodney Peete. He has autism. So I guess this is what autistic looks like? He is in special ed. He loves rap music and is a HUGE fan of yours. He’s a tremendous kid. He has to deal with so much trying to fit in. This isn’t helping.”

Firstly, I enthusiastically applaud Holly for her pitch-perfect response. She never ceases to impress me with her grace and her indefatigable dedication  to our community. Basically, she’s everything I want to be when I grow up. Except famous. But moving on …

On the Fourth of July, Brooke and I headed to the mall. It was too hot for her to brave the pool and there was not a chance in Hell that she could handle the crowds at the beach. The only thing that could coax her out of the house was the promise of a trip to one of her favorite places, the American Girl store. So that’s where we went.

While the rest of the country was packing their picnics and firing up their grills, we were taking advantage of their absence and the subsequent (relative) emptiness of a place that Brooke loves, but can’t always handle.

That’s what families with autism do. We adapt. We go to places when no one else will be there. We turn ourselves inside out to find pockets of ease and peace – and fun – for our autistic loved ones.

The trip to the mall turned out to be exactly what they so often are – a roller coaster ride. It was wonderful until it wasn’t. It was fun and carefree until it was overwhelming and impossible to manage. It was sweet and girly and joyful until it was hard and painful and sad.

While it was good, it was really good. In part because as a family with autism, we appreciate the small moments in ways that I dare say typical families don’t. It’s one of the many beautiful parts of our particular journey. We celebrate so many things that the rest of the world would never so much as notice.

I was so overjoyed by Brooke’s happiness at lunch that I grabbed my phone. I wanted desperately to capture the joy of the moment. To savor it with her again and again. To prove to myself that it really happened. That Brooke laughed and played and had the chance to enjoy this place that she so loves.

I snapped away as she talked.

“My elbows are on the table!” She chided. “You would tell me in mad voice to get my elbows off the table!”

It was a script. I played my part.

Again and again.

And again.

It was utterly delicious.

She put the napkin on her head. She said it was a hat.

I told her it was the most perfect hat I’d ever seen.

She spun in her chair. She spoke to the waitress in Dora the Exploradora Spanish. She asked for her food by saying, ‘Meeeeee I have the fresh fruit and yogurt please?’ then looked at me and said, ‘I said, meeeeee’. Then she laughed and her laugh came with that smile that could power a thousand suns and I snapped.

Then she grabbed my hand and laced her fingers through mine – this is new – delightfully different and new! – a sensation she could never abide before and now she seeks. Again, I snapped.

The hostess came over. She asked if we’d like our picture taken together. I asked Brooke if she’d like that. “Sure,” she said. ‘We will do the Ugly Pear Lop Ala Kazools!’ And so we did. And God Bless the hostess, she snapped us just like that.

I looked at the pictures that night. I searched through them after anxiety had besieged my girl. I needed to remember the happy. I needed to feed on the joy.

And when I did, I thought of 50 Cent. And Holly. And Rodney. And all of our children and all of the autistic adults for whom this is so damned personal. And I thought, ‘THIS – this is what autistic looks like, damn it’.

It looks beautiful and joyful and free.

(And sometimes it looks tortured and overwhelmed and terrified. But that’s when I put the camera away.)

Autistic cannot become the next insult. It can’t. Its far, far too complicated for that.

And far, far too beautiful.

Thank you, Holly. Again and again, thank you.

As for 50 Cent, I pray that he and his nearly seven million followers are listening. There’s one hell of an opportunity here.

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138 thoughts on “what autistic looks like

  1. I agree that Holly Robinson Peete’s open letter set the right tone. And I think I know, um, another blogger who does the same type of thing post after post.

    Brooke is luminous in these pictures — and I (we) do appreciate you sharing that with us along with your candor about the challenges.

    It is the only way we can all learn, I think.

  2. Yes, thank you to Holly! She’s magnificent! More people have to stand up to all of the ignorant people in this world who live to disparage others!

    I love you,
    Mom

  3. She is absolutely stunning. I love the photos of her, the light in her eyes, and especially the shot of you two and her doll. LOVE. Wonderful post.

  4. The pictures just came up for me after I commented. I am one proud Grammy. She’s gorgeous and mind blowingly delicious!

    Still Mom

  5. that is one glorious piece of writing and a wonderful transition Brooke is going through… its wonderful when an autie has moments of being not just in their own world but simultaneously in the external world and feels understood, safe, accepted enough, and not too overwhelmed, so they can reach out, initiate, accept in interactions with family, with strangers – awesome :-)

  6. Holy cow. You and HRP. In one post. You both are pitch-perfect and so very eloquent.

    Thank you. I needed to feed on some joy today, too.

    And 50 and fans? What she said. Step up, please.

  7. Mahalo for explaining the 50 Cents References. I knew someone somewhere said something that resulted in multiple pictures, but I did not know the details. Brooke is beautiful as always. Blessing to you and your family.

  8. She is so beautiful! Everytime I read your posts, or look at my own Grandaughter, I am reminded of the stories in Erma Bombecks book: Motherhood, the second oldest profession. I remind myself of them again and again when things go wrong, or especially when she says a new word or her Laughter or smile. I wish I had half the refined skills to be as wonderfull as you and Holly. P
    Ps One of your pics didn’t post :=)

  9. This is beautiful. My son is 14 and has high functioning autism. What I have come to learn is that autism has a different look for everyone. In his younger years, my son sought out social interaction but didn’t know how to act when he got it. He didn’t understand the world. He still doesn’t, and it doesn’t understand him. Now he is 14 he prefers total isolation. No family dinners, no trips, even eating at home as a family is rare. I’ve had to grieve again. Autism changes, evolves, with our children and we have to continually adapt. I once asked my son how it felt to be autistic. He looked at me and said, “it’s the rest of the world that’s wrong, not me.”I believe I think he’s right.

  10. These pictures say it all. I’m so happy you ventured out with Brooke, knowing the risks. Even though it was (another) roller coaster ride, I loved hearing about your day together. Now that I’ve read this today, what will I read first thing tomorrow when I wake up?

    • brooke absolutely LOVES the place, but it gets so busy that it’s a sensory nightmare. was a delight to nearly have it to ourselves. maybe someday they can put their heads together!

  11. Ignorance doesn’t have to continue. I pray that the young man in question does, indeed, use this as a learning/teaching incident.

    On a lighter note, looks like you have another model in training!

  12. Your comment about lacing fingers struck me. My son is 15 now, and he hugs me, wants to hold hands, seeks out that contact, but it wasn’t always this way. He avoided touch, especially at school. He knew I was always right here and would come to me when he could. Now it’s much more relaxed when he does. I just wanted to share because I know how much those small touches mean. 50Cent has no idea what autism looks like, but I have my own precious vision of it, actually two of them, both of my sons. They are fine young men now, I actually have hope for their future. I hope 50Cent gets chastised by the community and learns just what autism is.

  13. Could never, ever have said it more perfectly than that! I hope all the “50’s” out there are listening. Your daughter is beautiful, and that’s what Autism looks like!

  14. Perfect. both Holly’s response (for which she has become my idol for her grace and strength) and this post, for capturing, in words and photos, what a day in the life with autism is actually like for so many families – the beauty and pure joy in our children and the challenges we all face even without people making slight or jokes. Brooke is amazing, and so are you. Thank you!

  15. She’s such a doll! Oh my goodness is she just gorgeous or what!? I was angry at the comment too…..I left a few comments of my own on his fb page. This Momma Bear wasn’t so nice to him..

  16. Amen, Amen!!! Thank you for melting my heart and reminding me to remember the smiles and the laughter…

  17. Once again, you have expressed what countless others are feeling and thinking. Thank you for using your voice, for inspiring us and bringing us closer together. the idea that there is some way to describe or define what autism looks like is laughable. Because every single person on the planet is what autism looks like. Thank you for using this space to remind us of that.

  18. It has been such a pleasure to read your blog. What a blessing the day I stumbled upon you. Thank you, for being a beautiful strong voice for the autistic children and for showcasing the love of a mother of a child with autism. My son is beautiful, sweet, charming, and highly intelligent as I’m sure is your daughter. She is beautiful. The saddest part of all this is that our children appear so normal (normal by society’s standards, that is) and are expected to behave in the same way as all other children. It’s sad that society seems to shun them and makes them, or us, feel inadequate. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your blog means so much more than you could possibly know.

  19. Like your daughter, this is beautiful. You hit this on the head. We cannot, will not, let autistic become an insult. That is completely unacceptable.

    Thank you for sharing and writing about your day, about your daughter, about your relationship. It is so relateable!

  20. “We turn ourselves inside out to find pockets of ease and peace”…..and good Lordy, how many other ways do we flip, we flop, we turn, twist, and turn some more to find them? Sometimes I trip over my own self to look for those pockets, those safe harbors, that no one else notices because they are blissfully watching their children’s eyes light up at the grand fireworks display after a big picnic celebration with neighbors and friends. I understand how difficult it is for others to TRULY understand or appreciate OR celebrate autism, but reading the recent comments by Mr. Cent made me a little sick. Or A Lot. And then I almost felt sorry for him. For someone who doesn’t get to know and love autism like we do. Sometimes I think we won the LOVE LOTTERY. ;)

    You and Holly have done a beautiful and very graceful job of responding to his vile insensitive tweets, and it does our community so much good when we can speak out together in unison and grace while letting the misinformed know that we are NO JOKE. I love that line she put in her response! Jesus, can I get an AMEN on THAT?!

    In the middle of the hoping and hovering and adapting, we have so much beauty and a pure, raw innocence that is lost on so many…..and obviously Mr. 50 cannot even begin to imagine or understand what he is missing and just WHO he has slighted with his words.

    That baby girl of yours has the face of an angel. And I know angels, because I have one in the male form…same age and same beautiful face that makes people smile REAL BIG and fall crazy in love. Instantly. Really, it’s like the sun. But brighter. And I see that same face on Brooke.

    Yikes. I just wrote a novel in the comment section on your blog. Gawd…I never do this! Thanks a lot. ;)

  21. She is so, so beautiful. And the way you describe that trip, so like my Joey- complete with the ups and downs (and putting the camera away). Keep the baby, toss the bathwater.

  22. Awesome post in every way. I’m on vacation and haven’t been online I hadn’t heard of this. That scares me about “autistic” becoming the new R word. It really can’t happen. It won’t. We won’t let it.

  23. The level of insensitive comments made by people, famous people, without any thought, is heart breaking. They are totally blind to the real world and how their comments may affect other people.

    The thought of Autism becoming the new R-word is scary. I can’t say that I know what it is to have a child with autism, but I have spent enough time with children who do to have a glimpse into their lives and the lives of their families and it is nothing to make fun of!

    May the Lord put on to 50 Cents heart what a shameful and hurtful thing he has done. And may be find it in his heart to offer a public apology and to spend some time learning how his comment hurt so many.

    Your daughter is a beautiful child;

  24. Brooke is beautiful. I have a son with asperger another form of autism. Everyday is s challenge and my son and any other child with the same kind of challenges are very beautiful ans a happy child. They are no different in appearance than a not so challenged child so Mr 50cent think before you speak. Didn’t. Your mother teach you that………

  25. So great to hear you had a brilliant day with your gorgeous girl – priceless!!

    I wasn’t aware of the whole 50 cent thing. Wow, if he knows what autism looks like he’s achieved what the whole medical world has failed to do. Sadly he won’t take on board the comments of people taking him to task over it, evidently he doesn’t have the capacity.

  26. Well said and very touching!! My 5 year old daughter has asperger’s syndrom. Although it is a high functioning form of autism, our family too, has to work around normal activities of the world. I am extremely offended by 50 cent’s comment and his ignorance. I am glad to see all who are taking a stand. Thank you for your post. Brooke is beautiful and if that is “what autism looks like” then we have the most beautiful children in the world!!!

  27. The last time anybody used the word “autistic” against me I simply smiled graciously and said “Why, yes I am. What’s your excuse?”

    I said that because I was able to. There are so many autistic adults and children who are unable to defend themselves.

    If autism looks like Rodney, Brooke and my son Rhys (who you can immediately tell, from his eyes and something about his facial expressions, is special needs) then it is a thing of beauty and magic. I remember looking at my infant son lying on my bed and giggling at absolutely nothing and thinking to myself “Whatever might be wrong, he has magic in him”.

  28. DUDE! I hope you tipped that waitress big. She NAILED it. That’s a framer right there!

    “That’s what families with autism do. We adapt. We go to places when no one else will be there. ”

    We just did that last night. I read that line and thought about how, after going to a Pirates game, I was looking around the stadium for open seats, planning the next move in case too many people moved in around us. . . thinking it was almost a SHAME that the Pirates were winning because the ballpark was filling up and we’d have to hope they started losing again so we could spread out a little. “almost” a shame.

  29. I have only recently started following your blogs and postings on facebook, and over the short weeks that I have been reading, I must say you and your family are amazing.
    I myself do not have any children, but I love hearing about the steps Brooke is taking whether it be her accomplishments or some struggles. And Katie, oh my, you have raised wonderful children!
    As for 50 cent, never knew someone could “look” autisic and I was a fan of his and I was following him on Twitter, but as of yesterday I no longer follow him. He is caught up in the fame and money and thinks he can do no harm. But what he does’nt realize is everyone DOES have feelings!
    So with that said, I love reading your blogs everyday and it gives me hope that no matter what is thrown at you in life, everyone can over come it. So I thank you for being an inspiration to all of the families out there searching for hope, answers, and comfort!

  30. You know what, in a really inexcusable fashion, I think “50” may have done the community a favor. It says in Genesis that, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Although his comments were thoughtless, and “50” may very well know better than to say such a cruel thing in a very public forum, I would be willing to bet that among his millions of followers, there are millions who do NOT know better. Although there are some who may use this as a new insult, who know nothing of autism, there may be others who will be educated. If they are watching and reading the backlash, maybe…just maybe…a few thousand (or hopefully more) are learning a new concept. I am NOT defending what he did or said…but I do believe that God redeems those moments of evil and uses them for good purpose. Just at thought.

  31. 50 cent doen’t know what he is missing, some of the best and most delightful people I know are Autisic and special ed

  32. Those photos…what an amazing story they tell. Every single one.
    I think this post goes up on the side bar as a must read. Not just for 50cent but for everyone. Beautiful.

  33. And for anyone on Twitter: There’s a Twitter campaign to educate 50 Cent about autism by sending him messages #thisiswhatautismlookslike. He’s deleted his comments about autism, but has not yet apologized. So…if anyone wants to show him what autism looks like in your house…I hope some autistic adults tell him too.

  34. I love this post. My daughter Anna is the most beautiful. loving, and funny kid I know (not that I am partial or anything). However, we (Anna and I) will be spending tomorrow away from the rest of the family because I know that going would be too much for her. I totally get it.

  35. it’s unfortunate that a no-talent moron like 50 cent can attain the level of popularity he has. and there is no better response to his inarticulate nonsense than pictures of your sweet little cutie pie…she’s a gift.

  36. As the father of an 8-year-old autistic son I wanted to say that I absolutely loved your blog. So many of your sentiments in the opening paragraphs have become my own family’s daily experience as well. It is not always easy by any stretch of the imagination. But life goes on and learn you how to adapt and make the most of every opportunity. Wonderful blog and beautiful photos!!! Take care and God bless.

  37. Brooke is so beautiful! loved the blog! my grandson is autistic but looks completely normal so of course rude remarks are made when he is a little loud. Some older grandparents told my daughter (at a Mcdonalds play yard) that
    she needs to control her son. Good thing I was not there!

  38. I very rarely read blogs posts. I have a son with Autism. Sometimes reading others stories is just too much, too close to home. I am sure others get this. This rappers twitters posts have made me feel angry, upset, sad, etc. I am sure others feel that way too. This blog post made me cry, made me smile, made me feel that our families are special and extremely blessed. We don’t take the little joyous moments for granted. And we understand how words can hurt others. Thank you for sharing.

  39. What a beautifully written post. I fully know what you mean… my Hannah will be 11 soon and was diagnosed in 2005. Lately we have fewer meltdowns, which means more peace and joy, and for that I am truly thankful.

  40. Thank you so much for this. I am not from a family with autistic children, but my life has been blessed by many of these wonderful people. This is the best reminder of why we have such wonderful programs in schools to educate us all on what it is like to work with autistic children. They truly are a blessing and I thank all of you out there living with an autistic child. You truly are miracles in this world. I only hope more people come to realize the beauty of you and your children. Thank you so much again for sharing!

  41. This was so beautifully written. I come from a small community even though autism as a whole is prevalent, it isn’t in our town. Your daughter reminds me so much of my sweet girl, Rylee. She LOVES to put blankets, napkins, etc on her head and pretend they are hats too! Thank you for sharing :)

  42. A beautiful response….Your daughter is absolutely beautiful….she is very blessed to have you as her mother…

  43. I am amazed at the level of immaturety and ignorance in our so called celebrities. I guess money can buy you anything but common sense. I am a proud mother of a wonderful high functional autistic little girl. People need to wake up there’s nothing wrong with autistic children but there is something wrong with being judegemental and rude. Pretty soon autism. Will be as common as the flu and mister 50 cent will have a whole house full of autistic children and then he can eat his words with that rude comment and see they are just like everyone else.

  44. I dont know if you will ever read this amungst all of the support. But I had to say thank you. Thank you for reminding me we are not alone in our lack of understanding of others. My son Deven just started to speak. Today we went to the store and he said “spitermon”…Spiderman. I started looking around and there was balloon with him on it. He was so excited he said”door?” I said yes, now its time for the door:)..then he mumbled inaudible sounds and said “car?” I said yes Deven now to the car:) My heart bursting with every breathe. Then we got in the car and he said “home”. I said yes, and held back tears. My son is 8, and this is a conversation so many parents take for granted. It was a beautiful moment. Thank you for you .

  45. I do not have an autistic child, but I have a niece with special needs. I love her as if she were my own child. Your beautifully written blog – as well as the wonderful pictures – has brought me to tears and makes me want to hug my niece. Thank you for sharing these precious moments and thank you for speaking up.

  46. What a beautiful post.

    After having a tough day today I’m trying to focus on the good, sweet caring moments, the triumphs.

    Thank you

  47. I have to admit that at first I was very angry when I read what 50 Cent supposedly tweeted. I thought about my 9-year-old son who’s on the autism spectrum and the uphill climb he has in front of him as he gets older. But then I saw your photos and how you captured that moment of joy with your daughter, and now I pity 50 Cent. I pity him because he might never know the intense joy of moments like the ones you captured, which can only come from having such a very special child.

    By the way … You go, Holly Robinson Peete!

  48. She is so beautiful. Of course autism is the face of us because most of this is induced to perfectly healthy children from vaccinations…

    • geegee, the causes of autism remain a mystery. as i’ve said before, i don’t doubt the stories that i’ve heard from parents about immediate vaccine regression, and it is certainly plausible that vaccines, combinations of vaccines or something associated with vaccines could be the environmental trigger for a subset of vulnerable kids, i dare say that is it is wildly inaccurate to say that ‘most of this is vaccine induced.’ if you were referring to your own child in particular and i misread your comment as a generalization, then please accept my apologies and disregard my response. thanks!

  49. Amazing!!! I have goosebumps and tears of joy after reading this beautiful post!
    Thank you for saying what most of us can’t. Those precious moments, captured for all to see……that’s exactly what “autistic” looks like.

  50. The beautiful and joyful and free helps us all get through the tortured and overwhelmed and terrified and make it feel almost managable.

  51. I know the beauty you speak of first hand. My son, Billy, is autistic. Just like your daughter, he is the most beautiful human being on earth. Thank you for writing this, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  52. First off your little girl is beautiful! Next I find you inspiring. Some of the things you said really hit home. How we avoid places, go places where we know other people will not be…and find our own little pockets of peace. Your story reminds me to alway capture and appreciate the good moments and push past the rough ones. It reminds me that I will never be alone in this journey. There will be mommies like you that inspire others to keep going. My son Liam is 5. He was diagnosed at two and a half with Asbergers and ADHD. We have our good days and bad. But if we stick together we get do anything! Happy summer to you and your little girl!

  53. I thought your post was great. Your daughter is beautiful. I don’t know what 50 is talking about, “looking autistic.” My 4 year old son also has autism, and I can’t even count how many people have told me that he should model or do commercials. It’s sad how ignorant so many people are. My own father-in-law was “surprised” that my son looked so “normal” when he saw him for the first time after his diagnosis, even though he had just seen him a few months before. As if he would grow horns overnight just from his diagnosis! But even if you could identify an autistic person on sight, it wouldn’t excuse the insult. Better stop this rant now, before I get too carried away….

  54. Thank you for posting this! Your daughter is so beautiful!!! I used to be a 50 cent fan, I can not believe what he said. Autistic better not replace that damn r word!!!! So glad for holly Robinson peete! My angel is turning 9 next month. If this keeps up, our babies are going to run this country, and to be honest, it just may be a better place to live if they did!

  55. Amazing story, brought tears to my eyes of happiness and joy,…my son Nyo was diagnozed with Classic Autism, and he too is the most wonderfull boy around. He rarely speak but he is always happy, smiling and singing in his own words. We also had the fortune that loads of people around us accept him and love him.

  56. This made me teary eyed, thinking about special times with my son. Your daughter is beautiful,.and she.is lucky to have a great mom :)

  57. Thank you! My son just was just diagnosed a week ago. I found a great deal of comfort in your story. Hope in holding on to the good moments. :)

  58. Our autistic children are all beautiful inside and out. Personally I have become a better person while learning how to raise my autistic son. He is handsome, strong, caring, compassionate, honest, funny and so much smarter than myself and some of his teachers. He has learned to communicate his needs and wants in a very positive way. My son has touched so many lives with his abilities. I’m so very proud of my son. We are all different. That is what makes this world such a good place to live in. Disrespecting ones differences is a shallow discrimination. I ask only to stop and observe one of our kids. Wear their shoes for a day. See what they see. They see more than you or I. Their observations are unbiased and offer an uninhibited view of the world. I would rather have 10th autistic kids to one smart mouth wannabe thug who disrespects everyone.

  59. Holly is lovely!! My 9 year old son has mild autism. He is very handsome, smart, thoughtful, and articulate. He is friends with other kids with autism of varying abilities. He would be hurt terribly to know that super stars tear down people with autism or any disability for that matter. One reason I took my son out of school is because some kids at school would regularly call him names such as “loser” and he started to believe it. To have this bullying behavior come from an adult who broadcasts it to millions is sad beyond compare.

  60. This was so spot-on to what we experience as as a family with my son.. Beautifully and simply written, this was the best thing I’ve read about what it’s like to be a parent to a child with Autism in s while. Thank you for writing it and sharing it. The pictures are priceless as well as beautiful :)

    (50cent- I forgot all about him for a moment reading about your experience- thank you for that, too.)

  61. Loved your story and pics. just reading it made me realize that days that are off the wall and crazy with appointments and therapy, are lil blessings. They bring about those special moments we parents hold dear. Letting us know we will DO anything to help and protect our childs. Many blessing :)

  62. After reading the posts in response to yours, I have to ask. How can you handle it anymore? “It” for me, is the invisibility of your daughter’s disability. My daughter is 3.5 and absolutely beautiful. I hear it all of the time over and over again from her slp, ot, pt, and elementary Ed coaches. Yep, my daughter is beautiful and autistic, DX’d at 2.5 with PDDNOS. I don’t think I can handle hearing it anymore because so far the past year has been a major tragedy in the life of my family, following another very negative life changing event in 2007.
    Autism in many cases is invisible and that is why people are so ignorant to the 1 out of every 88 births that will end up being autistic. If our children were disfigured from many of the other syndromes that accompany autism then our kids would be beautiful “In their own way” but people may be more aware of our struggle.
    Hearing “She is beautiful,” and “she will come out of it” breaks my heart over and over again with the ignorance that this disability has a cure.

  63. i can think of a word that autism can replace….BEAUTIFUL!
    who really cares what some washed up, uneducated rapper says.

  64. Your daughter. Is beautiful. And so precious people who don’t understand way we go through on a daily. Basis both my boys was diagnosed with pdd

  65. Thank you for sharing your special moment with your daughter. As a mother of one son who has Asperger’s Syndrome and one who has autism, I can appreciate enjoying the special moments we get with our children. I pray that 50 cent and people like him learn tolerance and kindness.

  66. What a beautiful story! This just made my day as an Autism Mama. Your daughter is absolutely precious :)

  67. Thank you for being so bold and eloquent with your thoughts. Your daughter is beautiful and I know how hard it is to give our special babies a fun experience while trying to avoid the meltdown. My son, almost 12 and on the lower functioning end, is one who craves touch and is a happy guy. It’s hard for other people to grasp how such a happy, beautiful child can just flip out over the smallest things. Pshh even his own father doesn’t get it. As his mommy, I refuse to limit his life and keep him in the calm shelter of our home. As a result, he LOVES amusement parks, and even loves riding in 18 wheelers and tractors of any kind.

    Kudos to all you parents out there who don’t criticize those of us who sometimes get up in the middle of meals, leaving half-eaten plates of food. Bless those of you who smile and go on about your business — staring doesn’t help the meltdown to stop. Finally, to those who teach, take care of, or just love a child with autism, please know that you are appreciated!

  68. Beautifully well written and poignant. Thank you for sharing and helping to show others that autism is nothing to stigmatize.

  69. Thank you SO much!!!! I cried from about the third sentence. As a mom with an autistic 9 yr old, I completely related to your story. The greatest part of having a special needs child is how unique and perfect they are even with all of the little (and big) idiosyncrasies that go along with it.

  70. Pingback: What Autism Looks Like – The Autism World Responds to 50 Cent « valerie r lawson

  71. What a beautiful, beautiful girl. Her eyes have that sparkle that my Noah has. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

  72. That was a great piece. You nailed it on the head with how we cherish the moments that other “normal” families take for granted. My son Alex is 4 and is autistic and when he has his meltdowns people just assume he is a brat and not getting what he wants. Thank you for writing this!

  73. I loved this story, you explained it so well. I am a 22yr old mother of a child with aspergers. Higher functioning autism. He is 6 years old and was just diagnosed. It is an incredible amazing tiring and awesome roller coaster ride, that we are both figuring out together, and I wouldnt know any better way to put it then how you have here. Made me cry for sure! Thank you for putting it in such a perfect way, for those who will never fully understand.

  74. Pingback: Suck On This, Autism Haters! | Chromama

  75. The Joy I felt reading all these triumphant stories worth more than $.50. I could stoop to his level with one of hundreds of things I could call him. But as my bullied special needs child has felt tormented, may someday $.50 feel the torment of being different, Yes he sure is different. Sorry a moment of weakness……Gotta say it…………. LOSER!

  76. The signs are there (mom/dad/daycare teacher confer) – initial appointment 3 weeks ago with Autism Specialist said “yes, from what I have observed and the questions mom/dad have answered, we would like to put him on the waiting list for further in-depth testing”… we are on the waiting list (could be 10 months or more) to get more testing to confirm. I’m scared to death that the world will not see a beautiful, sweet, intelligent, loving little 4 year old boy like I do. I HATE to hear my boss and other older people tell me that I don’t spank him/punish him enough and he’s just being a spoiled brat. I stumbled on this blog, from a fellow Facebook post, and really want to hide with him and soak in all the love, work through the meltdowns and keep him away from all the harshness. I feel like I should know his triggers – and I don’t. I feel so lost – because I still feel like the diagnosis could be wrong and my boss could be right. I feel like I’m on the same emotional roller coaster as my son.

    • oh honey, we’ve all been there. i get it. i swear i get every bit of it. please, please read this http://adiaryofamom.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/welcome-to-the-club/.. and this http://adiaryofamom.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/d-day/.. and trust me when i tell you that yes, there are times that we all want to run and hide together on an island with our beautiful special kiddos, but so too, there are days like today, just today, when we shout from the rooftops to celebrate the people who DO get it, who SEE our kids, who CELEBRATE their glorious, delicious, awesome minds and who in doing so help them to celebrate THEMSELVES. And days like today when I can share something that my daughter WROTE (you get that, right? something that she WROTE) about herself – about how awesome she KNOWS that she is. read that too, won’t you? it’s here .. http://adiaryofamom.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/a-tale-of-three-letters/

      i get it, and i hold you in my heart and my prayers today, because i know that the early steps of this journey are terrifying. but i promise, it gets better. and it makes us better. hugs to you and your baby boy.

    • Just know the journey to understanding your little one is hard, stressful, and heart wrenching. There is a big autism community that is helpful, and supporting. Patience is the big key. Every child whether on the spectrum is precious. Enjoy the victories and learn from your mistakes. There are days I feel like a coach, directing my team of Dr,s , teachers, family. And the one who knows the rules to the game is your child. And once you learn their special way of communicating you can start to win small victories. Chin up, only you know what is BEST for your child. Don’t worry about others. My blessings to you and family.

  77. I have met this wonderful man named William who is an incredible single father to a very special autisc son named “Little Will.” This man has been through trials and tribulations through his life that are outstanding and unbelivable. He has been through fires were he has lost everything, through near death experiences, incarceration, that make him more the special than the average man. Friends and family have turned there back on him at his greatest time of need. I am not asking for anything, but I have seen him give his last to anybody who needs it. In his spare time he gives free hair cuts to children that are disabled and unfortunate to be able to pay for a haircut. All that I am asking is to be heard and recongized for this young mans strength and ability to do what he does from the streets of New York. I’m not looking for any hand outs, this is more than just a story, or a movie, this is the life of a real good man. The one question this man asked me is when is he going to find his pursuit to happiness.

    Thank You For Listening,
    Angie Negron

  78. This story is very beautiful and so is your daughter. She doesn’t even looks like she has autism. I hope y’all continue to have a great life and I almost was born with autism so I don’t know how it feels. But I have some problems because I’m in SPED classes and I get bullied a lot I don’t have a good life. I am 11 years old and I started being bullied when I was 7. It’s really hard to stay under controll sometimes. Like right now after reading that story and writing this I’m crying really hard. I have to pray for myself and other SPED kids and it’s sad because none of the normal kids try to talk to me cause I say hi and they always either say eww, ur nasty, or leave me alone. Now that I now about 1 more person with autism I will pray for her too.

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