Andrea from @AutismTips over on Twitter wrote a controversial tweet that she followed up with a blog post here. It’s an interesting post (and link to another interesting blog post by Life With An Autistic Son) on how siblings of autistic children are sometimes overshadowed or forgotten in the face of their siblings’ disorders.
The controversy came over her use of the words “casualty” and “battle.” I’m not sure why. No one is complacently watching their child’s autism, just sitting by and doing nothing. Everyone I have met is passionately fighting to get their child the best treatments possible whether that is through the schools, medicine, or other relief. It’s a battle with families affected on one side and the negative Autism spectrum characteristics on the other. And like with any battle there is the chance for casualties.
I can’t speak for siblings, after all my Castle is an only child, but I do know that Autism takes a toll on everyone in a family.
I am a casualty.
My husband is a casualty.
My son is a casualty.
We are all casualties to our son’s battle with autism (or dyspraxia or both depending on the doctor you’re talking to.)
And I do not feel that referring to ourselves as casualties victimizes us in any way. It expresses the very real sacrifices every person in our family has had to make because of Castle’s special needs. It acknowledges that the life we planned – the life we theoretically would have lived had he talked on time – will never be, and it expresses the emotion behind the understanding that that dream is dead.
We’re all casualties, every member of our family. And we are all working and learning to accept this reality and make it okay.