Walking With Drake

One Mother's perspective on autism.

The bigger picture...

We have all heard it said, pictures can be deceiving.  I've thought a lot about this lately.  We aimlessly browse through our Facebook newsfeed and see picture after picture of happiness.  I think it would be interesting to see the real picture.  Perhaps we would all like each other a little more if we didn't have the facade of permanent happiness on social media.  Occasionally we see a non-typical family picture, a beautiful family, faces full of smiles....except for the unruly toddler who appears to be possessed by demons. These pictures always make me chuckle.  I like the realness of it.

As a parent I find it quite difficult to capture pictures of Drake, period.  My child does not love the camera.  Add autism into the mix and I feel like I need one of those fancy dslr cameras that does the action pictures. Some of the greatest pictures I have of Drake  were taken by his therapists.  However, as stated previously, pictures can be deceiving.  I will never post a picture of Drake that would embarrass him one day, but I think there are times others need to know the story behind the picture.  In order to educate others and spread awareness it is imperative that all aspects of autism be explained.

The picture above shows what appears to be a happy little guy holding his "First Day of Preschool" sign.  What you don't know is the story behind the picture. 

There are things you cannot see. 

1. You cannot see his amazing ABA therapist, Lindsay, working hard to get this picture for me.  You see, as an autism parent, I don't have the luxury of just snapping a picture of Drake looking cute in front of the school building with a huge grin on his face.  I had to ask Drake's therapists to get a picture for me.  

2. What you don't see is the major meltdown that occurred when Drake was asked to hold the sign.  You don't see his therapists trying with all their might to make this kid smile.  

3. You don't see the Ipad they eventually had to use in order (playing the Kung Fu Panda trailer) to get one brief smile. 

4. There is no way for you to see the picture schedule being shown to Drake to prepare him for his big day. 

5.   You cannot see how anxious I am about this new school year.  Just one year ago I withdrew Drake from a different preschool because he would throw up when we pulled in the parking lot from sheer anxiety.  

6. You cannot see how much progress he has made in ABA therapy.  There is so much bad press out there about this form of therapy.  It may not work for every child, but it works for mine.  He is happy. He loves his therapists and they love him. 

7.  From this picture you cannot see how thankful I am for his therapists.  I have no idea where my little guy would be without these amazing and selfless individuals...or me either. 

8.  You have no way of knowing that he only attended preschool for 30 minutes the first few days to make sure it was a positive experience.  

9. You don't know about the meeting I had with his therapy team about preschool, or that I almost backed out.  

10. Nothing about this picture tells you how proud I am that he rocked his first day and every day since then. 

You see...pictures are only that...pictures.  There is always a story.  Our story can be complicated, worrisome, and tiring...but it's ours. Despite all of the hard stuff that can't be seen in a picture, I am thankful. 

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  1. Thank you for saying this so much more clearly than I ever could. We meet friends at a pumpkin patch this weekend and they complained about how hard it was to do things like that with three year olds as I sat there thinking, "you have NO idea what hard actually is."

  2. Ugh. Don't you just love humans...:-/