Today is Autism Awareness Day and I’m alternately working and scrolling on Facebook. I’m seeing all the posts from my friends who are raising autistic kids. (Aspies? Autistics? I’m still learning about the terminology people in the community prefer and working on adjusting my language.) I’ve watched from behind my screen for the past few years as people post about their kids, seeing traits that felt familiar, wondering… is that Owen? Do the autistic traits I notice in Owen mean he has autism or are they just part of his 18q- diagnosis?
The fact is it never really mattered much to our family. All the little things that make Owen who he is didn’t need a label. Then last year we started to notice a lot of resistance at school with some of Owen’s teachers. They didn’t want him in their class. The accommodations were “too much” and they thought he belonged in the life skills classroom. We realized, sadly, that our very small school district couldn’t meet his needs and the gap was only going to grow as he got older. Our family made the hard decision to move to a school district with a larger population and more tools to help their special education students.
Suddenly Owen would be attending a new school that had autism supports. It became more important to know the answer to the question, “Does he have autism?” We pursued the diagnosis and confirmed that Owen is on the autism spectrum in August 2020. Not much has changed. He’s been home this whole school year (thanks Covid) and have even paused in person therapies. I’m excited to see what doors the diagnosis opens when he can return to in person learning. Mostly I’m just happy to know.
I know I said I wanted to start sharing more from Owen’s perspective and I do. He doesn’t have much to say about autism, in the future he might, and when he does, we’ll share that with you. In case you’re wondering what some of the things are that made us wonder about if he had autism, I’ll share one with you right now. In fact, it’s one of my favorite things about him. Owen becomes intensely interested in certain subjects and when he loves something, he loves it fiercely. One thing Owen loves is logos, and his very favorite logo is the Klasky Csupo logo. If you’ve ever watched Rugrats on Nickelodeon, you’ve seen it. For art class this year he filmed a stop motion recreation and I thought you’d enjoy seeing it. (Daddy helped!)
If you like the video, Owen would be thrilled to read your comments. He wants to be a Youtube star, just like every other 4th grader I know.