Here is a confession…
I have not read a single book on autism beginning to end.
I have begun several including some by that famous Aussie ‘expert’…and the other one that has everyone in a tangle…but I never get further than a couple of chapters.
Oh, I take that back…I have read the two most popular ones on Pathological Demand Avoidance, PanKwake’s specific type of autism. If such a thing exists. Do we try to break down neurotypical into categories?
Oh and I HATED both of them. I found them depressing and felt they 100% dehumanized PDAers.
I don’t even waste my money or time reading books written by parents of autistic little humans.
Now today two things have me on my pulpit (AGAIN!!!)…
- THIS Super Nanny video on the needs of a family with an autistic little human…and
- an #ActuallyAutistic was asking what they should include in a how to parent your autistic little human book…
Both of these are missing a very important ingredient…An actual parent!
It is a whole different perspective as the old friends of any new mom will tell you. It is a total game changer…for every area of your life.
Being a nanny to rich, posh people is NOT the same as parenting. You have no investment in these little humans (though I question how much those parents do either). You can and do simply…walk away. As for love…well…listen to what Jean Jacques Rousseau has to say…
Since mothers have despised their first duty and refused to nurse their own children, they have had to be entrusted to hired nurses. Finding themselves the mother’s of a stranger’s children, without ties of nature, they have merely tried to save themselves trouble…
Not content with having ceased to suckle their children, women no longer wish to do it; with the natural result motherhood becomes a burden; means are found to avoid it. (Emile)
And while Rousseau was most definitely a sexist (or at least a man of those times), he is just as scathing of men/fathers for not assuming the authority of educating their own children.
This may seem a bit hypocritical considering I am working my tail off this week to get the upstairs bedroom ready for an au pair. And that PanKwake has had three previous part-time carers. BUT none of them have had responsibility for my little human. In fact, more often than not I am in the house too. And certainly I have set the tone…the rules…trained them to do it my way.
It is not just nannies either. I think ya’ll know my opinions on PhD’s and ‘experts’. No, the few parenting books that I have enjoyed the most have always been written by committed parents. The Dr Sears’ series were great because even though he holds an MD or PhD…or both…it is his personal stories with his offspring that makes them come alive. (Hmmm…I hope he thought to ask their permission first? Not something that any parent considered back then.)
As for my #ActuallyAutistic friends…while I HIGHLY respect their insights and perspectives into how it feels and the challenges of being autistic…parenthood is a game changer. Ask any old friend of a new mom or dad. The person they knew is gone.
It was funny watching that same thing happen to my beloved Cookie Monster when he got PanKwake. His friends…his parents…at parties…every single conversation always came back to the words…
Yes, well, PanKwake (says/does/etc.)…
She was ten…out of the diapers stage. So at least they were all spared the horrors of green poo, but it was just as real…even without those ‘ties of nature’ that Rousseau spoke of.
No, I totally RESPECT that they have loads to share about #autism. And I listen. I learn too. And most importantly, I apply everything that I can (not everything is the same for every autistic person…anymore than all neurotypicals are the same). And I do agree that the perspective of the things that their parents did that worked…and how they WISHED things had been done is important.
BUT…I was up six or seven times last night with PanKwake. She was having an especially needy time. The most sleep I got all night was maybe an hour long stretch. Which means I probably did not get a single REM cycle in. I finally just gave up and stayed up with her from around 6 a.m. I am exhausted.
But telling a parent that they need to remain calm for their little human…they need to place the little humans needs above their own…even when it comes to sleep…that is all well and good.
If you have NOT ever done that….let alone for years and years…how can you possibly speak with authority to someone who is?
Which is why you don’t hear me touting the #autistic perspective. Even though there is a fairly good chance I might be…I am certainly #neurodivergent. But I respect the #ActuallyAutistic label too much to attempt to speak for them.
I don’t even try to give PanKwake’s view…not unless she has told me what it is…and given me permission to share it. That is hers to tell her story…and we are working on that at PanKwake.
No…without the parenting experiences…well, you can’t speak for me or to me…
- No matter how many degrees you have…
- Or how many years you spent as a high paid nanny for rich people…
- Or if you were once a child…even an #autistic one…
As an erotic romance author, I participated for several years in a writing contest that challenged you to stretch your skills by writing in 35 different sub-genres. The hardest for me was…gay male. What the heck did I know about that? And certainly, I would have never been comfortable publishing in that genre (though I know that some straight women authors are very successful at it…which astounds me).
Of course, the book I want to read is the #ActuallyAutistic parent of #HappilyAutistic little humans. I have a couple of online friends with that perspective. Problem is…between their challenges and meeting the needs of their little humans they don’t have much time to write. But hopefully one day they will.
Even then…as I have said before…the ONLY expert that I truly listen to is…PanKwake herself. No one knows her autism…her sensory needs…her challenges…and her strengths better than she does.
We actually had a great time watching that video together. She knew exactly who Super Nanny was. She informs me that she watches her regularly. Not because she agrees with her, but to criticize (have no idea where she gets that from). We also talked about the #ActuallyAutistic perspective. I LOVE her beautifully #neurodivergent brain. After a long night…even with my sleep-deprived, fuzzy one, it is a joy to share thoughts with this little human.
Which is why I am working to enable her YouTube dreams…not to exploit her…ALL of this is joint effort…a shared decision to share a different pathway…with those who are seeking something different…and the minds and hearts open to it.
As I said, it is not a numbers game or something we fake for YouTube (oh, I think we covered that this morning too). This is REAL, folks. A mission and a purpose…for both of us.