When Autism Moved In

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

My son Josiah is my precious one. My pride and joy. He has my captivated my heart. I had no idea just how much I could love someone until he came along. I love his adorable face, his sweet disposition, and his spirit.

When I speak of of the ravages of autism, please do not misunderstand or confuse the depth of my unconditional love and acceptance of him and who he is. But that’s the thing, I’ve never felt like autism is supposed to be a part of him. Instead, it’s almost like autism is like a living, moving entity on its own–even apart from Josiah. For me, autism has become more like an unexpected, uninvited houseguest that has taken up residence in our home and disrupted everything about life by its mere presence.

Autism is the name of our uninvited guest. Honestly, he’s an extra body in the house and he has overstayed his welcome. He literally sucks the air out of the room sometimes.

He and Josiah seem to compete each other for attention. I hate how he mocks Josiah–“How come he can’t talk much yet? Why isn’t he potty trained? He doesn’t know how play right.”

We can’t even go many places together as a family anymore. No one invites us anyway. Someone always has to stay home with Autism. He can be unpredictable. We get scared about what he might do or what people might think of him. Autism doesn’t seem to care.

Autism doesn’t like the food I fix. I can work and work in the kitchen with the most expensive organic ingredients, gluten/dairy-free mixes, and he turns up his nose at it. Autism is ungrateful and I feel like I can’t please him.

Autism has had all of his mail indefinitely forwarded to our house–his books and literature and forms to fill out strewn about. I can’t even get away from it in the bathroom. Then I open my email, and I’m lambasted with so much stuff about him, reminding me that I just don’t have a normal life anymore.

I hate how Autism stays up as late as I do, and then he wakes me up in the morning–or sometimes in the middle of the night. In fact he sleeps right between me and my husband in our bed, us clinging to our own sides. He likes to sit down in the middle of us on the couch too, so we don’t hold hands like we used to. I miss my husband, and the comforts of “home.”

Every once in a while after we moms drop off our kids for therapy, we meet together at the coffee shop to have playdates with our Autisms. At least we know the other moms understand our frustrations, because they have an unwelcomed houseguest too, sometimes two of them.

Autism is such a spoiled brat. He demands fistfulls of our money, and plays on our fears that if we don’t give it to him for his vitamins, his treatments, his pricey tests, his B-12 shots, and a myriad of “flavor of the month” coctails that just might be “the ticket,” that he’ll take it out on Josiah. “Josiah might not get better, or regress,” he taunts, “so you have to keep spending all of this money on me.”

I think Autism wants me to accept him, or legally adopt him as my own son forever. But he won’t call me “mommy,” and he won’t let Josiah call me “mommy” either. In fact, he’s always putting his grubby hand over Josiah’s mouth so he can’t get much out at all. I hate that.

I still cheer for Josiah, though. Still he perseveres and conquers some things, even when Autism holds one of Josiah’s arms behind his back, or while he’s trying to trip Josiah. We erupt in praise when Josiah “does it” in spite of Autism, who has become his shadow.

Autism gets paid an annual salary 3-4 times more than I make, if you can believe it. We’ve told him that we will pay him any amount for severance if he will just GO away. He holds out.

The news comes on every so often talking about Autism. They say how he is so elusive. They don’t really know how to catch this fugitive. He’s in my house! Please someone come take him away. Quit making excuses. Don’t you know that he has come into my house and threatened to steal all of our futures? As if we owed him something.

Autism keeps sucking up the oxygen around here. He’s locked away the laughter. I hope for him to move out. I plead with him to leave. I demand it. I pray for God Almighty to boot him out. Why can’t anyone strong-arm him away?

I can’t accept Autism as one of my family members. My dear Josiah is my only son, and he deserves the best we can give HIM. Quit stealing his thunder! We have to spend way too much time on you, and I’m sick of it.

I keep dreaming for the day that someone knocks on the door. “Is Autism here?” they ask. I say, “No. He doesn’t live here anymore. Come on in, and I tell you how I got rid of him. And, he’ll never steal from us again.” 

Autism, you’ve overstayed your welcome.


9 Responses

  1. Thank you for this post. I feel your pain. Autism lives at our house too, in our daughter, Bethany. I hate it. Thank you for illustrating it so painfully/beautifully all at the same time.

  2. Written from the heart–I rejoice with you for the day “autism no longer lives here”–this demonic stronghold must be released over the masses of families it has infected—let God arise and His enemies be scattered!!

  3. I know the feeling. I think it is so therapeutic to separate the child from the label, as you’ve done. Reading this reminds me to pray those verses of deliverance again over our guys for it is truly the Enemy who needs to leave. I don’t always feel it, but Jesus says we have authority in His name to give him the boot. Going for my Lee Roberts book and the “satan defeated” chapter.

  4. Tahni, I feel and know the pain and weariness in your words. As you cheer Josiah on, continue to trust that God will fulfill His purpose for him (Ps. 138:8). Praying that Jesus will invade your home and *anything* attempting to crush your spirit and steal your joy will be removed. Thankfully we have a God who specializes in restoring that which was lost. Josiah will have life to the full.

  5. I have not had to deal with Autism on a daily basis as you are but I have had a glimpse. I used to take care of a little boy with Autism. My heart goes out to you and at the same time I am impressed by your courage and strength.
    I wish you all well,
    Aunt Jayne

  6. Your post was very profound. I hate that Autism has arrived uninvited to our house changing everything with no regard. You have beautifully separated the intruder from the child and I really appreciate the way you described it perfectly.

  7. Thank you for such a profound post. My son’s autism inspired me to devote my life, helping others ease their pain and find solutions for this ‘uninvited guest’.

    At AutismToday.com we do our best to create solutions, help parents find inspiration in their child’s life, and ‘learn skills without pills’.

    Karen Simmons
    Author, The Official Autism 101 Manual
    Founder, AutismToday.com

  8. […] just sent me this video produced by Autism Speaks. Very powerful and kind of similar in tone to a blog post my wife wrote a while back. You can watch it below. I promise I’ll actually write a blog post soon that isn’t just […]

  9. Wow. I find Autism has horrible breath as he stops eficent teethbrushing. Do you mind that as well?
    Oh my heart for you . We should talk-I got Autism to leave of his own accord throughly defeated. And I don’t feel sorry for him. Pray and Pray then Pray some more-that’s how we got through it.

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