Autism Is Not A Punchline

I was cruising Facebook today and a strong important video from a concerned mother streamed on my screen. Her message broke my heart as I too shared similar feelings regarding the subject of concern. The concern was targeted at TikTok users acting out autism and other disabilities ignoring how disgusting and ignorant and distasteful these videos are. I, too, share her hurt and frustration with the lack of empathy people show towards disabilities. My son is special needs and his disability is not a punchline or humorous.

I can’t fathom why people think making fun of disabilities is entertaining. Possibly they think that they are being comedic but in truth…their actions are damaging to a community of warriors fighting battles unimaginable. Making fun of disabilities is a low act of ignorance and it in dignifies the human beings who struggle every day with bodies that fight themselves. The horror of watching someone fake a meltdown thinking its funny should place themselves in what a true meltdown is. To the ignorant girls and boys making fun of stimming or echolalia I implore them to sit in a classroom and be stared at as they are an alien. To the disheartening video creators who think this kind of bullying is appropriate, well, simply its part of the problem.

Disability is not a mockery it’s an everyday battle for the people facing them. It’s a battle for the advocates to get rights for the human being basic rights. Rights that should be given as equal chances of “normal people”. These videos take away the rights of disabled. Other people had to fight for my sons right to attend school and not be institutionalized. People, good people fought for his right to proper medical care and specialist to help him. One video or more demoralizes the battles fought by good people. No matter how far people get to have disabilities recognized others create a monster of destruction to tear down basic rights and understandings. These videos are a reminder of why our world is behind in human compassion and understanding.

I’m disgusted, angry, and at a loss that human beings would treat one another like this. I have a dark sense of humour but this is not funny. It’s not something to make light of and honestly I don’t understand why people would think to make something like this in the first place. I’ve held my son with pain in his heart because other children told him to kill himself because he was different. I’ve watched my son have meltdowns that are so scary for him. I’m not religious but I prayed for safety and love for him. Watching his body and mind battle the strong spirit within him is devastating. I’ve had to fight teachers for him to understand the brilliance in my sons mind instead of them only seeing a disability. I love my son more than anything in the world so to see people take away and destroy people like him without knowing the damage it causes is disgusting. Its enough when someone’s body hurts them it’s another when people ignorantly add to the trauma of hidden battles. My sons autism is not a punchline.

Written by Ali Johnson

Am I enough? Motherly thoughts.

Tonight I had enough with my children I just wanted them to go to bed. Our life has become somewhat abnormal due to home isolation. Time schedules are basic. In the past, everything was routine down to the minute. Unfortunately right now that has not been able to happen so my children and I are going off loose times. What that has done to my ADHD and my sons autism is allowing us to learn how to handle uncertainty. Especially when it comes to school work. My oldest and I are bulls in the China shop so to speak when it comes to sitting down and focusing on the tasks assigned.

It didn’t hit me until I got the email from my child’s school we are going to be home for a while. I have been alright mentally up to this point but upon reading the letter I had a slight panic attack. I’m not fully sure I’m cut out for this. My husband is working away for four days a week. It is my job to be the main parent, teacher, chef, referee, and many other tasks I had forgotten about because I went to work. Not to long ago I wanted to escape desperately from being a stay at home parent. The panic stems from asking myself constantly am I enough for my kids?

Today was bad the t.v. was on too much, my children had a minimal lunch, I was on my phone to mentally escape and I craved to be alone for just five minutes. At the end of the day we missed bath time and this is part of being a parent. Bathing your kids should be essential, and yet I was too exhausted to give bath tonight. I lacked the focus to play bubble beard, shoot the hose, race the cars and whatever nightly bath games ensue. Last night I forgot to brush their teeth. I am the mom who has caved to forgetting hygiene due to exhaustion.

Supper time has become our spectacle of amusement. Some moms post on social media they are taking this time for table etiquette. I sit at the table and hope my boys can be civil enough to not kill one another. Dinner time is either eww I don’t like inserted food here” or me trying to convince the toddler to sit down long enough to scarf some food without choking. My main goal is keep them alive. I feel guilty because other mothers are posting gourmet meals for their kids. Feeling like the poop smear who fed her kids Kraft Dinner and Salad is not what I wanted for my kids to eat. Last week I prayed I could find the food they would eat while the grocery store stood vacant. It’s a catch 22 feed your kids whole foods with non GMO vegan bullshit or make sure they are fed. Guess which option I’m choosing?

Arts and std called crafts. I have been trying to do crafts every single day with my kids. I plan them out carefully and prep the equipment. If all goes well we have a new project to work on for twenty minutes top. Once all the jazz of glittery gluey hell are over for my children I’m the one who cleans up. Stripping the toddler of his newly designed clothes: yelling please don’t touch that: having my oldest try his best wipe down: it’s ridiculous. The arts and crafts box has become a mess. I organized it last Tuesday only to have it look like a hoarders’ paradise just what I ordered. I purged my house before spring and somehow we have collected more junk being more inside than out. Marie Kondo would be ashamed!

All of that wrapped into a big ball I feel I am not enough for my children. If you asked them how was your day my oldest would tell you his mom started teaching him art. The two-year-old would proudly show the names of shapes he learned from watching Blippi. My oldest would say pizza and movie day are his jam. My two-year old would dance because his mom has taught him some groovy moves. I’m sure if the toddler could fully talk he would tell you all about the massive bubble beards we do make together and that mom made him a squirt gun to shoot the bath monsters. My nine-year old would say he has become the master prodigy player and has achieved new reading levels. Contrast to what I think I am as a mother, my children will tell you otherwise. Rewinding from my text above I am doing what I can do.

I am enough for them.

Written by Ali Johnson

The First of the Lasts

I saw my son turn into a little man overnight. Snapping a photo yesterday of his last day of grade two it hit me out of nowhere. We have so many lasts that it gets missed. The last nap, the last cartoon, the last of holding a baby and singing it to sleep. I once took in the deep intoxicating smell of my small baby boy. That smell still lingers in distant memory never to be forgotten. Now he smells as a stinky boy preparing for the next leg into growing up.

I am growing older I saw that in the photo. My son came into my life as I was leaving adolescence in my dust. As the saying goes there is no manual to having children, we all wing it hoping for the best. I held my baby for the first time and the last time I held him tightly in my arms when he was four. Where did the time go? I dropped him off on his first day of kindergarten and this was the first of the last times. Yesterday he finished grade two onto the summer of learning fun and adventure. Will this be the last summer we play with reckless abandon. How will I know this will be the last time we do anything?

He no longer collects tiny metal cars, I looked inside his room. It no longer holds home to a little boy filled to the brim with imagination. It holds the image of growing older. Science books and homework thrown about. Clothes with loud labels surround the floor. Try as I might with each passing day the last of little boyhood is growing away from him. The bond as baby boy and mother is now growing into a bond of a mother and her young son. Different responsibilities overtaking the loud fun we once had. I can’t remember the last time we were tickle monsters of TravisVille.

Everyone says if you blink they grow up so fast. I blinked of course as all parents do. I am sad to see the years creep up ever so silently. Missing the markers of my sons childhood and held them for granted. If only I was wiser I would hold onto the last times like hostages until somebody else said time to let go. I’m not quite ready to let go just yet. I want to hold my eyes open wide in order to not miss what is left of my sons childhood. The parenting nature doesn’t work that way. I will blink again and before me will stand my adult son onto his next adventure.

With this I say hold onto your babies a minute longer as you don’t know if this time is the first of the lasts. Hold your breath with passing moment of time and hold those true to your hearts so that way you can appreciate the fleeting time of growing older.

Written by Ali Johnson

My son at three months of age.