DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

Autism's Meaning & Identity

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Amanda Bonacci

Addy Cat: Live with Autism

My daughter, Addy, will be four in November. As she sits and watches her favorite cat video and plays with her beloved cat stuffed animal, my mind tends to wander. I wander to a place where, before her diagnosis, the hopes and almost psychic-like take on the future once was. Why do we do this? We as humans constantly live in tomorrow. Not even, sometimes years from now. We set an expectation and sometimes it’s truth is but a dream we have so happily created. After Addison was diagnosed with autism at age two and a half, these visions and future we had set-up for her were slipping and fading. What I can tell you is with this, each day became our tomorrow. Seeing her right now, for who she is, and her accomplishments makes those miles into steps. Addy isn’t speaking much, and saying she is a sensory seeker is an understatement. Although she isn’t able to do what a typical four year old can, her vibrant soul has surpassed the happiness we long for in this life. Her happiness comes from things we overlook. The simplicity of seeing her favorite cat, or finding her favorite snack at the store. How is this not beautiful? But to find the greatest joy in those moments we once held in the wonder of a child’s mind. Becoming a mom was my biggest identity changer. Becoming a special needs mom has integrated an entire new meaning of ‘who am I?’ Fighting, advocating, laughing, crying, smiling and frustration is apart of who we are. As a family we are one, with autism in the picture, it has become a part of this journey we are on. Addy has been our tour guide, so to speak. Seeing her learning to communicate, not just through words, but through her big world around her, has shown me that truly, being human is a mere fabrication of what we try to rise to be. Addison has taught me so much in her short time here, and learning from her has created a view on this world that I’ve never known. It is beautiful that we similar in that we are different. Acceptance and normalcy is still protruding through our social norms, but it is well on it’s way. We cannot be held to what is expected, if we do not view things through another set of eyes, and another perspective of beauty.

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