Saturday, March 27, 2010

One Word. A World of Difference

When my Autism Spectrum Support Group of Southern Maryland partner and I worked on getting our new logo, we thought long and hard about our name.  For a number of years, we had called ourselves the Autism Spectrum Disorder Support of Southern Maryland.  Did you catch the difference?  It's just one word:  "Disorder."

My son was diagnosed at the age of three.  He's over 12 years old now -- nine years of having a name for the issue.  We'll always be grateful that we got the diagnosis (and hence the first interventions) so early.  Many, many children with Asperger's aren't accurately diagnosed for years more than that.  But by about Year 6, I was pretty tired of being "a disorder."  And since my son could read -- really read -- by the age of three, he knew what books I was reading by reading the spines of the stacks all over the house:  Disorder.  Syndrome.  Disability.

I'm not one of the group that says that they wouldn't change a thing about their child.  I would.  In a heartbeat.  I'd make the lack of social understanding go away if I could.  What are people in this world but social creatures?  As soon as you add one, you've got two, and that's social.  Imagine always having to do your hardest job at home or at work all the time.  Now imagine that other people believe you should find it relaxing and fun to do so.  It's not an easy world to live in when you don't understand the rules (but, as in my son's case, believe firmly that you do!).

As I've said before:  There is no area of my son's life, and therefore my family's life, left unaffected by his Asperger's.  That's why they call it pervasive.  But when you get right down to it, autism is what it is.  There is no cure; we work to intervene.  But mostly, we just get on with it.

So when my Autism Spectrum Support Group of Southern Maryland partner and I worked on getting our new logo, we thought long and hard about our name.  We now call ourselves the Autism Spectrum Support Group of Southern Maryland.  Did you catch the difference?  It's just one word:  "Disorder."


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