I did it. I went to one.
I've read blog posts written by autistic folks saying that it's doggone insulting that their parents went to "support groups," because that implies that they are a burden to raise and need to get support from others just to make it through this unpleasant experience.
Um, guyyys. Y'all are different.
I love my autistic kids, and it is NOT altogether entirely unpleasant to raise them, but I'll tell ya: they don't present the same sort of parenting problems I see my neighbours and previous friends dealing with, mmkay? They don't. And a support group is just a place for a mom or dad to go and compare notes and exchange information like "regular" parents do at the playground or through the traditional annual Christmas letter (ugh, honour roll again. shut up already.).
Support groups just are a way to get together and encourage each other that we can DO THIS PARENTING THING. And that YES, your perspectives on thus-and-so are right on, and NO, you are not alone in having a hard time potty training kids over four or dealing with the "you are stupid, make that kid behave" stare.
But ohhh... I just bawled my eyes out after that first support group meeting I went to. There were other people there, and I'm even getting to know a few people who have more than one autistic child, but I was the only one with four. No one else even had three. It's not a numbers game... I was just sorta hoping someone else like me would be there, that I wouldn't hear about ohh, here's a family with six and they're on TV! I was kinda hoping that 27 other families in my suburb would also have several diagnosed children and show up.
Guess not. I'm hearing there aren't too many families like mine out there, but they are out there. Maybe they stay home?
I have to say it was wonderful to see other people who had children who struggled in some of the same ways mine do. I think because the group is led by someone who is a POSITIVE person, sharing resources, stories and that sort of thing, that this is something I'll want to get involved with as much as I can. No cure stories, and yes, there were some "wish things were different" feelings expressed, but for the most part, it seems this group is going to stay away from the vax debate, the recovery thing, all that. Here are some brochures on this or that program in the lobby; pick what you want. And you homeschool? K homeschools, too. Ahhh.
And I found something else there. No. I didn't.
SomeONE else found me. She gave me her email and phone number and then after that? Messaged me on facebook. I don't know if she figured out that I don't know what to say and couldn't quite bring myself to write an email, or if she's one of those "extroverted" creatures I hear tell of, but there she was. A friend.
And we've gotten together to do social stuff. Twice. And not only that, on one of those occasions, her two autistic children came by to the house! And we still liked each other at the end of the visit.
Update: And my friend has a blog. Please visit and give some luv.