I am in a bit of a quandary. To tell or not to tell? That is my question.
To tell what? To tell Mia that she has autism. And by telling, I do not mean sitting down at the kitchen table and having a discussion – I don’t feel Mia is at the point in her life where she would need to have this kind of talk.
But, obviously, that day will come. And we will have to discuss it. We will have to place a name on this other part of her life. We will have to name the driving force behind her need to flap her arms and line things up. We will have to put a name on the reason why she has difficulty speaking (and difficulty socializing with peers – the direct effect of her communication problems.) Is this a word better not kept from her? Or is it something that should be.
I wasn’t lying. I am in a bit of a quandary. And this is why. These are my fears. These are my “what if’s”..
What if… we use the word freely in her presence? One day she may realize its cursed meaning and begin to allow the limitations put in place by society to slowly overtake her dreams for the future. What if she allows the negative imagine of autism to creep in and take over her free spirit and happiness; and her potential?
What if… we stop using this word altogether in her presence? When the time comes to put a name to this other force in her life she will wonder why it was never spoken. She will wonder why we kept it from her. She will think we didn’t want to say it out of fear that speaking it made it real. Or, worse yet, she may think we are so embarrassed by it that we wished to erase it from our lives completely. What if our covering it up forces her to believe it is something that needs to be hidden?
But, what if… We never keep this word from her and our positive reinforcement of the word helps to shape her future in amazing ways. What if our forthrightness with the word creates a vacuum that eliminates society’s hurtful views, thus strengthening her worth in her own eyes?
But, what if… We keep this word from her and she grows up never realizing there are people out there who view her as less. What if we keep this word from her and because there is no name there is no limitation. What if our silences keeps her from allowing negativity to enter her thought process and shape her future?
Is it better to allow this knowledge from the start or is it better to keep it hushed up?
I just do not know.
I may just be delusional. Maybe she already knows. Maybe I need not to worry. Maybe Mia’s other worldly understanding will once again transcend that of mine and answer this question for me.