Thursday, April 18, 2013

Autism Superpower

I could write a book about the dumb-ass things that nice people say.  Or the thoughtful questions they ask.

Can trash a room in no time flat.
"So...what's he into?" they ask.
"Oh, you know...Mr. Potato Head, Play-doh, messy stuff."
"Yeah, but what's his thing?  Like, what is he really good at?"

Oh, you mean the Autism Superpower?

That's exactly what they mean.  People see my kid stimming his face off on a tire swing and think he can count cards at a casino.  Or maybe he's a secret piano prodigy.  They see his wacked-out hair and ask if he's an artist.  Yeah, he's an effin' artist.  His favorite media are poop and toothpaste.

My son is good at a lot of things.  He can make us laugh.  He can make us drink.  He can make us appreciate every achievement, no matter how small.  He can keep us up at all fuckin' hours with demands for cereal and Handy Manny.  We're pretty sure he can pick locks.

Can't it be enough that our son can finally, at age five, tell people his name if they ask?  Or say what he likes to eat?  (His first response to this social question was "food."  He's since gotten more specific, which is impressive.  Incidentally, an ASD kid liking "food" to eat as opposed to something else is also impressive.)  He's worked so hard just to learn to point, people!  And you want him composing an opera?

I think they think that if my son has a special gift, then they don't have to feel bad about autism.  It's easier for them to take.  It's a comfort to think, Yeah, her kid has autism, but in a few years, he's going to invent something better than Twinkies or Paypal, and then she'll be set. 

Maybe he will.  Maybe he won't.  And if my kid develops a special talent, I will shout it from the rooftops.

But right now, I'd settle for him wiping his own ass.  That's an effin' superpower.  I'll make him a cape if he pulls that off.


  1. Classic, Effin' Mom! We're all part of this stimmy, poopy, alarming and amazing spectrum. Cleaning wipes and an adult beverage (or two) will keep you going!

  2. Gads, yes! What I wouldn't give for my 9-yr-old to wipe his own ass! Instead, he sits in the bathroom, naked from the waist down, and MEOWS until someone comes to help him. Talk about funny and irritating at the same time! Thank for this post, it certainly brightened my day and made me feel not so alone!

    1. I agree, wiping is getting old! I have to help all of my kids (I have twins on the spectrum and another) but my 8 yr old is non verbal so instead of asking for help, (or meowing for that matter), he uses towels! It is pretty freakin awesome! And one of the twins wants me in the room as he wipes (some improvement I admit) and then he SMELLS his wiping hand and then runs to take a shower! OMG. My life. Funny one loves to be clean and another is satisfied with a swipe of the towel. Who are these kids? Surely this is all a dream, right?

  3. Yes, that is the EXACT superpower I would like my 5 yr old to have also.

  4. I have three kids on the spectrum so of course I hear how special I am from people. Did you know that God only gives special kids to special people? I have hear that one too many times so I really just want to reply that it is clearly a case of mistaken identity.I was supposed to have three little girls like when I was a nanny. Not this! Glad (but also sad a little) that there are some other people out there that know what it is like. Although I remind myself I am more special because I have 3, lol.
    My kids are not gifted, although one of my 10 yr old twins has shown quite a talent in inserting the f-bomb into conversations. I am amazed that I ever wished he could talk! (JK) Now if only his younger brother would join in. I can't wait to hear what is on his mind :)

  5. This is SO TRUE. I agree one million percent. I want my dd (who is ten in 2013...see, your blog will be going strong i had to reference the year) to not poo in her pull up at night every night.

  6. Hahaha, the "what is his thing" question. Here is what I wrote about it a while back:
    The most common question autism parents hear. Sigh.