Get down on it

A couple of threads knitted together for me today. I have been responding to a number of "Why do they do this?" type queries on the Facebook page for Irish Autism, along with helping someone else to secure the help they know their kid really needs, and helping to celebrate something significant and wonderful for another parent - something that the normies wouldn't really "get".

I was also reading yet another one of these "Autism is an epidemic, we must prevent it/find a cure" type of posts too. That always gets my goat.

And I couldn't help but wonder.....

Could it be said that the kids whose parents have acceptance, tend to have better outcomes  than the kids whose parents get stuck on the denial-blame-curebie setting?

Of course, to accurately compare this you would need to set parameters of just what is a "better outcome".
And it would be very subjective as the "Acceptors" would be noticing and recording little things like:
learning to play with a new toy, in the way it was designed, getting a joke, telling a lie, or even; swearing very appropriately from the back seat when someone cuts you off. (ARSEHOLE!).

At the same time they know why food shouldn't be touching, and why the salt and vinegar crisps in the green packet taste better than the ones in the blue. AND they don't freak out and have a breakdown whenever there's a "Poo incident" - hey shit happens! (pardon the pun) 

Now please don't misunderstand, Acceptors are not Surrenderers!

Surrenderers are those folks who just put themselves at the mercy of the system and don't try to change anything about themselves, their kids or their environment in order to adapt. They remind me of those road signs you see at intersections in Ireland. In Australia we have a "Give Way" sign where you pause to allow traffic to pass by but you don't have to come to a complete halt.

Whereas in Ireland, the "Yield" sign always makes me think you have to get out and lie prostrate on the ground with your arms spread wide - ready to be trampled....

Surrenderers seem to be like that. Whatever happens during their kids lives isn't up to them. It's not fair and it's a little sad when you see it, but they can sometimes attract rescuers and people willing to take on what they won't bother with themselves. But that is their choice.

Whereas Acceptors seem to "get" their kids and let them get on with their groove, while trying to educate themselves into being better parents.  Sure they have the bad days when they wish life was different. But for the most part they are able to imagine what it is like to see the world through autism, and really try to make things fit the way their kids like them. At the same time helping their kids try on the rest of the world on their own terms.

On the other hand the "Denialby-Blameby-curebies" would be looking for nothing less than total normalcy.
"This is not happening, I do not have a kid with a disability. I am going to stamp this thing out whatever it takes!"

No flaps, no stims, no laughing at something that I can't appreciate is funny. Total and utter immersion in the mainstream, in a normalcy purdah.

Denialby-Blameby-Curebies can achieve amazing things with their force of will and determination to stamp out autism and all that is associated it with it. Fair play to them, because others will benefit from the improvement of services and education that such tenacity brings.

But sadly, when all that can be fixed about autism is fixed and the child is still autistic - does this mean the parent who hates autism will find it hard to love the child they have? I hope not.

Any good relationship counsellor will tell you that for this thing to work, everyone has to be willing to  change. And it shouldn't always be the parent OR the child. A little bit each way.

So watcha gonna do? Do you wanna geddown.....

for A.J. the marble roller!


Petunia said…
I am delighted that I am part of the Accepter group as that was the one that felt like it fit best. I can appreaciate and enjoy my daughter without the constant searching and turmoil of trying to "cure" her. Autism is part of my daughter and to remove that would remove part of her personality... I laughed at your poo incident as have had several games of "find the poo" at the local playzone recently hehe... These are the things that keep us on our toes and give us something to laugh about with others when the red face returns to a normal shade of flesh ;) xxx
Jean said…
feckin' love it!!!!!!!!!!!!
Acceptance is the only way to truly love your kid, without condition.
The eternal hand-wringers/teeth gnashers and the evangelical, strident Cure-Heads have driven me to distraction (and often time wasting doubt)at times. They can all take a running jump.
Acceptance is not the same as surrender.
Cool post missus
Anonymous said…
well i have to admit, i first started off as a surrenderer. I was told yes ur son has autism but i was waiting for ...but its ok heres the pill. I cant even remember what it was that converted me but in a strange way I like some of the day to day things that go along with autism. Yes I wish he didnt have it but these little achievments make u appreciate them so much more. Iv lost count of the ammount of strange looks iv gotten for making a huge fuss of AJ in shops just because he cud tell me what bar of cocolate he wanted rather than just saying chocolate.
I think i owe alot of me becoming an accepter to you hammie and I know iv being asking ALOT of quetions lately but one day soon, il be giving advice :)
And i am so so grateful that i have so many friends on here who get just how big a deal it was for me that AJ asked for marble roll today. and played with it.
Thanks Hammie,
drwende said…
Logically, Acceptors should do better because they're willing to play the hand they're dealt. So they'd capitalize on the kid's strengths to make progress.

There was a dreadful blog in the NYT a few weeks back where the mother writing it had a deaf daughter. Daughter loves her sparkly hearing aid and is totally at ease with herself, but Mom was still whining about her difficulties accepting that her daughter was "imperfect." Several commenters offered to slap some sense into Mom.

And there's a thought -- Accepter parents may be exuding less stress at the child. The perceptual peculiarities that go with autism don't rule out being sensitive to parents' moods.

I just finished a kiddie lit book, Changeling, in which the secondary heroine is high-functioning with autism, though the condition was never named because it's a fantasy story.
Jen said…
Your post is perfectly timed, funny, informative and wise, as always:) I am glad to say I am in the acceptor group. I get so much more joy from my child, after a very stressful few months of waiting and wondering. I see posts on our FB group and understand how huge the achievements are for our children, when some may perceive them as minor. Acceptors rock!! Jen
K.Line said…
"Accepters are not surrenderers" This is the most genius thing I've read all month. Love it. I''m going to apply it to everything in my life.
Anonymous said…
Excellent blog as always! I too am more than happy and profoundly proud to sit in the Accepter camp. And I do agree that children of accepters do fair better because they can be exactly who they are, because they are loved unconditionally, accepted unconditionally and understood.....we just get them! I love my son exactly as he is for who he is. I don't know my son without Autism and quite frankly wouldn't want to change a single thing about him, if we accept the Autism and celebrate their Uniqueness (think I made that word up!) we make for happier more secure children all round! As for the curebies....ASD is part of our childrens genetic make up - trying to 'cure' your autistic child is akin to Designer Babies in my opinion - it's like trying to change their eye colour or skin tone because it fits with YOUR idea of perfect...makes me very sad. EmmaR
Lisamaree said…
Petunia: Find the Poo was for you!
(you can always tell a special mummy by her permanently flared nostrils)

Jeanie:It's that tiny inkly freckle of doubt that does me in too. xx

Claire: you already give advice, I've seen you. As for the pills? When Boo was diagnosed ADHD was all the rage and I was so jealous as everyone EXCEPT us was getting Ritalin like smarties (except they weren't allowed smarties in those artifical coloring days) Now I am glad there was no supposed magic pill as we had to learn it the hard way. And the whole Ritalin thing didnt work out that well...

drWende: always an honor to hear your feedback. Yep, the stress of being a denial/curebie is horrendous. They are often evangelical in their determination and have that kind of heightened state of being, that makes them uncomfortable to be around.
Will be checking out Changeling soon. xx

Hi Jen: hopefully the more acceptors the more governments will focus on services tailored to symptoms and not be distracted by "cures" and "preventions" to get a cheap vote. That way the wondering will be less and the acceptance quicker. Love the smiley profile BTW!

K: It always goes back to the serenity prayer. xx
Lisamaree said…
Emma: thanks for dropping in. If I could go back I would change me, and the direction I traveled in for help. And I wouldnt waste time on people who would end up letting me down.
But the kids could stay the same. xx
Nan P. said…
Yes, big major difference between Acceptance and Surrender – And I know what you mean about those Irish “Yield” signs!

Hammie, you have touched here on a favourite topic of mine. Because Acceptance of what I cannot change seems to have always been my biggest challenge. I have struggled with Acceptance for ever! But “practicing acceptance” makes it easier and easier as time goes by. And then, yes, once we accept, we can get on with what really matters. ;-)

Heard of the Serenity Prayer?
“God, Grant me the Serenity to ACCEPT the things I cannot change,
Courage to CHANGE the things I can,
And Wisdom to KNOW the difference.”

I am not one for praying much, but this has helped me a lot along the way, and in all aspects of daily life, for small things and BIG ones!

Strangely, I accepted Cathal’s diagnostic immediately, as soon as it was hinted. DS is part of who Cathal is, just like his blue eyes. I think only one person in the family struggled with it, my mother, who kept saying that until the genetic test results came back, we should not rely on his slanty eyes, his heart problems, his floppy muscles to make a diagnostic. I put her right very quickly, the poor woman!

Thank you for remind me that I am still prone to struggle if I don't watch myself :-)
Lisamaree said…
nan; it goes
The serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The Courage to change the things I can change, and the wisdom to bury all the people I had to kill today because they pissed me off! xx

(have that on my bathroom mirror)
Seeker said…
"Accepters are not surrenderers" I love this!!!!!!
Again a genius post, my darling.

WOW, Hammie, sugar I've missed you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know we both are always so busy!
But I keep you in a house and a garden I've built in my heart, I hope you feel good in there.

Tons of luv
jazzygal said…
Fantastic post Hammie. You do this so well.

What can I add to what's already been Said? Not a lot. But I too would worry about the love for your child if you're in denial of his/her "label". But what I truly worry about is how the child will pick up on this... and pick up on it they will.

As Acceptors we work with and for our child to make their path in life easier for them and to help them reach their true potential. In this lengthy process we reduce the stress ( very, very slowly!) on ourselves and our children.

Go Acceptors! xx jazzy
Curebies sound sort of cute, like Furrbies with an anti-bacterial quality to them. And, any post that allows me to rock out to Kool and the Gang is a GREAT post.
Kim Wombles said…
Was thinking the same thing today, been thinking it, even written on it, adaptive coping makes a difference. I suspect we'll see just how big a difference in the next ten to twenty years as this cohort of children with autism become adults and we begin to see how they perceive the world, themselves, and their place within the world.

Parents who dragged them around to every quack and raged at their damaged children compared to parents who accepted their child's difficulties and challenges and worked hard to help them adapt and overcome while celebrating the wonderful about them. It sounds like a no-brainer to me, that the children of the latter are going to have better self-esteem and higher satisfaction with life, even if their capabilities end up being no different.
Elizabeth said…
Thank you for reminding me of another aspect of acceptance.
The Spicers said…
Brilliantly put, Hammie!
Popsie said…
Wow that was really powerful for me because I often find myself in the company of those in denial. I remember being told by a mum of a child with autism that I wasn't giving my son a chance because he went straight into an asd unit and her son went to mainstream, I definitely started off in denial but when he got the diagnosis I calmed down and acceptance came. Things got easier then
Angel The Alien said…
I think accepting means really seeing the child for who he is... not who you imagined he would be, before he was born or when he was a baby. People who accept their child's autism will get to know their actual child, who definitely has a personality and a sense of humor and interests and passions and everything else. Those who don't accept it will constantly be comparing their child to the hypothetical child they expected to have, and they will never find happiness. And you can still continue to fight for your child's education and therapies, because you want the best life for your child, not because you want someone to make your child more like who you wanted him to be.
Does that make ANY sense now that it is outside of my head?