I mentioned earlier today, that in some ways, Moose’s autism has been a blessing. It has taught us to celebrate things that otherwise might seem insignificant, to not take anything for granted. We have also experienced the tremendous joy that comes from seeing your child go from a four-year-old with almost no verbal ability to a seven-year-old who can have conversations, tell jokes, and let you know when he’s sick or hurt, just like any other child can.
Today, I had his annual review at the school (the irony of the timing is not lost on me!). After, I was talking to his occupational therapist. She has worked with him since day one at the school, when he was barely three years old. As a matter of fact, she is the last person that is still working with him that has been with him from the start. Next year, she’ll see him very infrequently, because he’s come so far, he really doesn’t need OT anymore. She’ll basically just be a consultant to the teacher, and an extra pair of eyes to check in on how he’s doing periodically.
I’ve long known that he’s a favorite student of hers…who could blame her? Moose is, after all, very sweet and funny and charming. But she told me today, with tears in her eyes, that Moose will always be the one student who makes her years as a therapist worth it, because of how far he’s come, and how much he’s achieved.
I realized at that moment, that Moose’s autism has been, in a weird way, a blessing to her, as well. Without it, she wouldn’t have had that career-defining experience, at least not with him; probably not at this time; maybe not at all. It’s strange to think that something we tend to see as a challenge at best, and a full disability at worst, could be a blessing in disguise to a variety of people.
I sometimes wonder how I would feel if they created a pill to “cure” autism. The easy answer is to grab it and run. Get rid of this invisible disability as fast as possible.
I’m not so sure I could do it, though. Part of who Moose is involves him having autism. I’m not sure who he’d be without it. Of course, no parent wants their child to suffer, but he’s not suffering as far as I can tell. And if him not having autism would take away from his sweet, loving personality, then I don’t think I’d want a cure. Autism doesn’t define Moose, but it is a part of who he is, and I love him just the way he is. I guess after all of these years of joys, triumphs, and, yes, struggles, I don’t want him to be any different!