Family Ties

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I’ve seen lots of parents’ perspectives on raising children who have autism. I’ve yet to see the perspective of autistic adults like me about their parents. It does seem to be asymmetrical, don’t you think? Let me tell you a little about me. I was diagnosed at a very young age and was lucky enough to have received intensive therapy and intervention throughout my school years. This wouldn’t have been possible without my parents’ advocacy, hard work and luck. I have great parents who understand about being true to yourself, since they’re not your typical parents. My parents are pretty good people who try their best, however, like most adult children, there are times when my parents drive me crazy or when they don’t understand me.

I think part of it is the generation gap between all adult children and their parents that comes from growing up during different times. There are many ways my relationship with my parents is not so typical due to the fact I have autism, anxiety and depression. I’m a lot closer to my parents than my siblings since I needed more help than my siblings and my parents felt like they needed to teach me to fit in. This could sometimes result in comical to embarrassing situations for me. My parents sometimes would push me to socialize with others even though it wasn’t the right time or place which caused me a lot of embarrassment. They have stopped doing that since I had an honest talk with them about my feelings when they push me to socialize at awkward times.

Needing more help in the past has left me a great fear of losing my parents’ help and support either by being too much of a burden or making them angry at me. This fear of mine as a teenager and young adult lead me to being the “good kid” and trying to create as few waves as possible. I tried my best to not get into fights with Mom or Dad during my teenage and young adult years due to those fears. I don’t think my siblings had those same fears since they had normal amounts of teenage drama with my parents.

This had led me to suppress normal feelings like anger, frustration or other negative feelings relating to my parents since I needed their help. The good news today is that I don’t need as much support from my parents and don’t feel as dependent on them. Being able to do more for myself and having non-family support has made a positive difference in my life. I now can relate more adult to adult rather than child to parent. Becoming increasingly more independent has allowed me to have greater honesty in talking to my parents about all my feelings regarding our relationship.

Out-of-Sync Woman

I was diagnosed at a young age and went through the special education system in public schools. Family is incredibly important to me as I grew up in a large supportive family. I enjoy being outside in nature and arts and crafts.

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