Check your ego at the door

One of the things most parents raising kids with autism know well is the constant embarrassment or humiliation that goes with the territory. 

The calls from school, the looks, the stares, the general inappropriateness of everything they do.  Especially in public.  Yes we’ve tried teaching them everything you did as they were growing up.  The problem is that, with autism, they lose their skills.  They are socially inept.  And it doesn’t bother them.

But it’s hard for the parent or caregiver to take them public places and deal with the inappropriateness and the social disgrace.  In the beginning, I was devastated.  I’m a very social person – always have been.  I thrive on being the entertainer and being entertained.  I’m what they call a “High I”, for anyone who’s studied personality types.  From the DISC profile, a “High I” is defined as:

Influential(Inducement, Inspiring, Impressive, Interacting, Interesting) Social, persuasive, friendly.Energetic, busy, optimistic, distractible.

Imaginative, focus on the new and future.

Focused on people than tasks.

Tell rather than ask.

Ask ‘Who?’

What does this mean, to “check your ego at the door”?    It means to get out of your own stinkin’ way.  It’s not about you.

My husband and I went to a seminar back in 2003 that taught us both this concept.  The seminar had nothing to do with autism, yet everything to do with how to live through it.  We went to this seminar with friends thinking we were going for our business.  We ended up being there for our survival.  What we learned in that short weekend was nothing short of a miracle.   We  learned that the gifts we were given were for a larger purpose.  Our natural positive attitudes and zest for life were there for a reason — so we could endure when times were so tough that we didn’t want to face another day.  The ‘gift’ I think we have is that we can find humor in every situation, that we are strong in social situations, so therefore, we can overcome the awkwardness and get on to the business of teaching our son the very things he needs to survive in our socially driven world.   

Am I saying that only certain people can survive raising a child with autism?  No.  What I’m just saying is, this is how we ‘ve managed to survive. 

So last week, as I rushed to school to help in a crisis situation with Tony, I literally checked my ego at the door.  I steadied my emotions, thanked the Crisis Team on the way in —  who were also there to help — and proceeded to calm Tony enough so I could take him home.  

It’s so not about me.  Every parent will tell you that.  The difference here is that I’ve had to get over caring about what everyone else thought.  I’ve had to get over the humiliation and the frustration, because this is not the first time it’s happened. 

And it most likely won’t be the last.

Becki

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Becki you nailed it! It really isn’t about me and I need to be reminded of it over and over…hmmm maybe I have a touch of ‘autism’ in me.
    Our son brings us such a fresh look at life (well and much hair pulling hair!)He was so disappointed when he told his therapist (young, adorable, fun, nice, and cute) that he loved her and wants to marry her. Of course she is too old (22ish? to his 12) and already married.
    How my heart hurt for him but I know there will be many more ‘heart broken’ moments. Yes I get tired of ‘teachable moments’ but my sons view of the world is so simple.
    Thanks for sharing your insights. May God Bless you and yours.

  2. I like the way that you look at this. The phrase check your ego at the door sounds like a good mantra for those pre-meeting jitters.

  3. You are so awesome Bec! A great mom, wife, and friend! That seminar taught all of us so mucha nd it is so great to know that what we do is encourage and build up the people around us. I love you and all that you are! You are truly amazingly wonderful! You inspire me and I love you! Yvette

  4. Hello,

    Becki, I feel we have so much in common and I’m looking ahead to the teenage yrs my son will be nine this year your blog is so refreshing nice to know real families with reals stories ..


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