So, let me get this straight. If you cannot see it, it must not be there? So, because Kate looks like a blonde angel, eating an apple and watching Princess Sophia she cannot possibly have autism? She cannot be developmentally delayed because you hear her speak and aren't children with autism non-verbal? Don't they scream and hit and flap and jump and spin and otherwise make themselves known so we can rush to their sides and immediately start with behavior modification strategies that will extinguish such unnatural behaviors?
Why do you scrunch up your face when I tell you she has autism? Why do you look at her and say; "Really? I don't see it. She seems normal to me?" Is that supposed to be a compliment? Should I breathe a sigh of relief and call my husband up with the good news? "Guess what, honey? Joan says Kate doesn't look like she has autism. We are in the clear!" What are you looking for when you look at her face?
Must you see something to believe in it? What about gravity? Newton gets a pass but Kate has to prove it?
I see the autism in Kate every single day. Some of you do too, when you are privy to those physical manifestations that she'll treat you to at the grocery store or at the pool. The inappropriate hugging (I know you love it, though), the babble, the verbal stimming, the jumping, the flapping and yes, even the screaming and biting. There are many other ways autism manifests in Kate. Some are amazing and some have us reaching for a box of wine. Either way, Kate has autism. She will always have autism. You may not see it on days when she negotiated her way through her tasks like a champ. You may not see it when her father and I expertly redirect her before it comes bubbling up and overwhelms her little body. You may never see it because you don't want to. You may see some of Kate's behaviors in your own children and it may send you into a state of denial that keeps you forever defending her right to be neurotypical. I love that place of denial. I know it well.
Yes, there is such a thing as being on the 'quirky side of normal.' It is even hip to be there, these days. This is not the case for Kate. She has a neurodevelopmental brain disorder. Accept it. We have. She is still perfect in every conceivable way.
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27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB
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Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)