Protecting Little Joys

Filed Under (Acceptance, Adam, autism, Autism Theories, Joy, Research) by Estee on 04-10-2010

We have to protect our little joys. I was thinking of this as I was putting Adam down to sleep this evening. As usual, we read Dr. Seuss. He eventually yawned and put his head down on his pillow. It sounds “normal,” I know. Around here, hums, noises, hand-flapping, smiles, and some words (difficult to come by) are our normal. Also “normal” is Adam’s soft hair that I can’t help recounting over and over because he presses his head gently into my face before he drifts off to sleep.

Adam has adapted to his new school which will accommodate his special learning needs. Today, he brought home a Recognition Certificate for his accomplishments — on focusing and “completing daily tasks.” I thought it was a wonderful idea to recognize his accomplishments. I loved it also because Adam was full of smiles when he came home from school today. Thankfully, his cheeks are still so round that when he does so they just get fuller like the moon. Time has not taken them from me yet.

As his parent, I have a right to enjoy Adam’s brief childhood. I’ve been in this autism world for six-and-a-half years now with Adam (he is eight) and I’m always breathtakingly amazed with the copious amounts of information about autism, usually presented in dire terms, that infiltrate parents negatively and make them worry. We worry so much that we blog, enter information on Facebook and Twitter about autism endlessly. Okay, let me speak for myself by hiding behind the “we,” won’t you? If we’re not actively doing that, we at least read so much. Worrying about our children, autistic or not, seems to be part of the parenting job. We all want our children to learn. I am not against research or reading the information. Yet I do think it’s okay for parents to take a break from the autism tornados brewing out there.

Autism doesn’t steal our children. Fear and worry steal precious moments with our kids. It steals our happiness with what is. It might be the reason why I find it difficult or frustrating to read some things these days. We still need more “positive autism” out there.

I cannot think of times more special than these: reading to Adam, watching him smile, being witness to every accomplishment (no matter how minor), and simply putting him to bed, to name a few. Thinking of how quickly this will pass — when he will no longer have the famous cherub cheeks and tiny-voiced giggles, well, I want to know that while there was worry constantly spinning around us, and a race to make Adam “better,” that I really did work on being the calm within the storm. I want look back and know that while I served him well to find the best-suited education, I also took the time with him to just be happy.


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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.