It is funny how once your child is diagnosed with Autism, his being, his identity seems to vanish.
His main feature is Autism
His personality is defined by Autism.
His tastes are consequences of his Autism.
Your child doesn’t have a gender anymore. He is not a girl or a boy.
He doesn’t belong to any ethnicity. He ain’t no longer a Black or a White child.
No, my friend, from the moment, your child is diagnosed, he is no longer Karima, Fatima, Adam or Yacub. No, from now on, just forget about it! He is just Autistic…
My point here is that, even as a parent, if you do not pay attention, you will end up considering your child exclusively from his Autistic angle. I am going to give you an example. Let’s say, on a sunny afternoon, your child “behaved”, no tantrums, everything went perfectly fine. So, you can’t wait for your hubby to come home. As soon as he will be opening the front door, you will tell him something like this :“ Assalam aleikoum, I hope you had a good day at work. Adam and I had a fantastic one. He has been really good MashAllah. Like a perfect normal boy!” Duh!!!
From another perspective, you have the parent who feels that he has to let everyone know that his child is Autistic. Of course, my relatives do know that my daughter has autism. Of course, I won’t hide it from my friends. Of course, I will inform people who care for her like the medical staff, the childminder etc… That is already a lot of people, don’t you think? But what about strangers? What about the person who will be sitting next to my daughter on Public transport? Is it a duty to inform him or her? I will say that it just depends on how my daughter will be behaving. As long as she is not having a massive tantrum and as long as I feel that I am in control, I will keep my mouth shut. Not out of shame but why should I introduce my daughter by first emphasizing on her being different from us “neurotypicals”. (I didn’t know how to turn the above sentence for you to get my point without sounding silly and arrogant but InshAllah, I hope you understand what I meant. )
It also relies upon the way the Stranger will be dealing with me and my daughter. If the individual is reprimanding my daughter for being naughty or for not behaving in accordance with her age, then, yes, obviously, I will step up to the plate.
As a conclusion, I would like to say that my child has a personality. My child has feelings. My child has weaknesses and strengths. My child is a bit of me and a bit of her father. Autism is a piece of her but Autism is not her.