Superhero: a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers; an exceptionally skillful or successful person – Merriam-Webster Dictionary
When the time came for me to have children, there were a lot of options and situations that I knew I needed to be prepared for. Though I have to admit, majority of my thoughts were about choosing nursery bedding and baby names. Would I use cloth diapers or regular? What stroller and diaper bag should I get? While many things came to mind, it had never occurred to me that I needed to prepare myself to raise a real life superhero.
When I see my son, I don’t just see a child with Autism that needs help to be part of the world. I see a superhero who can teach me and others far more about the world than I could ever teach him.
I see the most amazing, dedicated, triumphant child who has a unique skill set unlike any other: a boy with the truest, honest, kindest heart that I’ve ever seen, with great passion for life and extraordinary interests. He is a person with a special connection to extraordinary individuals and a trusting heart that doesn’t judge. I see so many magnificent qualities in him, but the reality is that it is not all cake and rainbows.
The hardest part about raising a superhero is watching the battles that they encounter daily.
Watching them not only battle the outside forces in their environment, but the battle within their own body. There is no way to truly document how that feels as a mother because it is indescribable. However, watching your child discover the world in a way that most people could never imagine is the indescribable counterbalance to it all.
Everyone has their own philosophy on how to raise a child on the spectrum and I respect that. For me, the question often isn’t about how to raise a child with autism. It is how can I help foster his inner superhero? How can I help him build upon the wonderful foundation that he already has, and how can I help further develop the person that he is?
It is hard as an autism parent; mostly because there is a fine line between trying to help facilitate the kind of growth that will better prepare him for this world and how and when to let him soar and just be him. I think many parents of children on the spectrum struggle trying to find exactly where that line is in a life full of therapists and interventions.
You spend every day trying to live in what feels like the same world as your child. You spend countless hours lovingly trying to bring him/her into your world and stay there. A world that brings them extreme discomfort and pain. In order to even make my first real connection with my son, I had to enter his world and I think that should really count for something. I may be uncomfortable with his world because just like my world is to him, it brings me extreme discomfort. With that said, he loves his world and I feel that has to count for a lot when deciding where that fine line is. To be honest, I don’t think that we really live in different worlds, we just see and feel things differently.
As a parent of a child with autism you need to go outside of your comfort zone and think more about when to step in and when to help foster the inner superhero inside of them.
You see, according to the dictionary a superhero is a fictional hero, but I don’t agree. When I see my son, see what he can do, and see how he perceives and combats the world on a daily basis, it is clear to me that superheroes are indeed very real. There is nothing fictitious about them, and I couldn’t be prouder to be raising one.
Today’s blog is dedicated to all the real life superheroes and extraordinary children out there. May we all feel the blessings of your presence and the amazing qualities that you possess and bring to our world. Thank you for all that you do!
by Jessica Nieminski