Kat and Arthur 2015I crave information about autism. I am parent of a child with autism and I work closely with individuals and families living with this complex disorder. 

I read a lot. I listen to parents. I seek to understand those who are diagnosed. My cup is not full. I am still learning. 

There are so many different opinions, viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives that I must often remind myself that perception is reality. No two people with autism look alike. Nor do their experiences. So if I want to continue to learn and evolve, I need to keep an open mind so I can absorb the many facets of how autism affects us all. 

When I read this blog by Carrie Cariello, titled I Know What Causes Autism, I smiled. This is a refreshing and honest take from a parent raising a child with autism. It’s funny, poignant, and frank. I often see parents shrink away from revealing how hard it is to raise a child with autism because we are told autism should be accepted, tolerated, celebrated. And I truly hope it is, for my son’s sake and for the good of humanity. People with autism are valuable and precious human beings. But when you witness your child banging his head on the hard floor because he does not have the ability to communicate, bruise a peer, bolt into traffic, scream in terror at the unknown, or kick your head while you are driving, well, this puts you in a tough place. I love my child dearly but sometimes I don’t like autism so much. 

When you have a child with autism, unconditional love comes just as natural. You love him just the way he is. But this does not mean you can’t ache and grieve when life is hard for him because of autism. 

This is a difficult quandary for many parents and a hard message to eloquently convey. Kudos to Ms. Carillo for doing just that.

Katrina Davis is a family advocate at Seattle Children’s Autism Center and mother to Arthur, her 15-year-old beautifully complex boy with autism.