Beyond FINESSE: Jen P at Find Out What Jen Finds
Consider these comments from Jen: “I went through a phase where I…couldn’t relate to my friends with neurotypical children of the same age as (my son), but I also felt like I couldn’t relate to the parents at the ASA meetings, and I didn’t really know how to relate to my girlfriends and their spouses/spices. It’s like I heard scenarios and had to stop and think, ‘does that apply to me and my situation? Can I really give an opinion?’
“When I finally came to terms to the fact that Autism will always be a part of our lives, it felt so terribly awkward to say that Autism will always be a part of our lives. And though I did say it because I knew it was true according to textbooks, there was always a feeling of uneasiness. I don’t think it was on MY part and MY acceptance. I think it was a self-imposed feeling based on what I thought other people thought and THEIR acceptance of it.”
Talk about a lot to think about as far as feelings of isolation, concerns about relating to others a in a peer group, and questions about others’ attitudes toward a condition. As a parent, this section really made it clear that parents of children with special needs cope with a phenomenal amount of stress every day and deserve a great deal of support:
“I don’t know what to expect for (my son) in school years, adolescence, college. … My biggest fear is that I’m getting ahead of myself. My second biggest fear is that I’m not planning ahead. What if I won’t fight for something because I don’t even know that he needs it?”
These soul-searching questions of Jen’s make my heart race in panic. I’ve discussed at length my tendency to react strongly to other people’s troubles on John Robison’s blog post about empathy. What would I do if I were in Jen’s place, I wonder. How does a parent with such dueling fears face one without exacerbating the other?
Jen adds that her self-discussion of such points was “spawned” (what a great word!) from discussions at Asperger Square 8 (an amazing blog that’s now in my sidebar), NTs are Weird (another terrific new addition), and John Robison’s post about the documentary Billy the Kid, which sounds like a must-see movie. I’m grateful to these bloggers for compelling Jen to write her current post, and grateful to Jen not only for introducing me to new bloggers who join John Robison in the category of tremendous, insightful, honest bloggers in my book, but for her willingness to share so much about her family life (including an ongoing array of adorable photos of her boys) to help me learn and appreciate the realities of daily life with children with special needs. She certainly deserves the Nice Matters award she received, and I’m really pleased she considers my blog a site worth visiting, too.
As for my seven nominees, this is going to take a little research and right now I have a house that looks like a cyclone’s been through. Or maybe three. If you’re a parent of a little (or big) person who’s mobile, you know what I mean!
Photo: One of my new favorites on Find Out What Jen Finds