Some folks that I have talked with over the years are resistant to having their child “labeled” as being on the Autism Spectrum. But for me, for our family, the label means support. Help. Understanding among fellow families.
Take our elementary school, for example. All of us who gather in the foyer to wait for our kids are part of “the autism families.” There is no stigma attached to that label, within the foyer of the school. When MSG is having a bad day and comes into the foyer in the company of one of the support staff, where he’s yelling and crying, I don’t have to blush, worrying about what anyone will say. They know he’s at this school for a reason. It’s enormously liberating.
Labels can be liberating. They can give one a community. The moms and dads I meet at school totally understand the minor celebration a “normal” day can prompt. When a new food is tried, it’s a matter of a high-five. But also, we all nod, amazed with our children when they start talking about really detailed things, too. One boy is brilliant with animals and everything about them. He’s like a zookeeper, with as much as he knows. And he’s only seven.
Our kids have a label on them, true. But mostly, that label is “LOVED.”
Because each and every one of our kids is. Very much.