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Posts Tagged ‘Gluten’

So, this summer, Marty and I got brave. Or stupid. Or maybe a little of both. Anyway, we decided to take the kids to Disney World, which is, after all, only two hours away in Orlando. Now, I grew up in southern California in what used to be a little town but is now a miniature Beverly Hills (but with actual hills with real trees and a decent number of women without fake boobs) called Agoura Hills. It’s not far from Malibu but far enough from Santa Barbara that I could go to UCSB without my parents insisting I live at home and commute. So, I’m a southern California girl, and no amount of living in Florida is going to change that. And that means, to me, it’s Disneyland, not Disney World. I mean, come on. It’s not a whole WORLD. It’s a place. A LAND. It’s Disneyland. Calling half of Orlando a “world,” is a gross overstatement, and I know I’m going to screw up in this post and call that money trap Disneyland, so fair warning: If you don’t like it, stop reading here.

I stole this pic of Agoura from Wikipedia. Don't tell.

Ok, thanks. So we decided to go to that famous mousehouse, and that in and of itself was quite a big deal. Traveling with a hyper four-year-old and a six-year-old with autism is not for the weak. Or, at least, it’s not for the weak who don’t have Xanax, but Disneyla—Disney World doesn’t provide free packets of Xanax with their three-day passes, which, if you ask me, is a huge oversight, but maybe there’s some kind of HIPAA law I don’t know about here. (more…)

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I remember the first time I “came out” to a stranger. I was at Target (as usual), and a woman said “hello” to Will and waited for him to respond. I said “hello” back for him, smiling and telling her, “Will isn’t being rude to you, ma’am. He has autism, so he doesn’t speak.” That night, I told my husband Marty about the exchange. I was incredibly proud of having publicly stated, to someone who didn’t need to know, that Will had autism. Doing so was a big step for me.

See, the thing about autism is that Will looks like everyone else (although, and I could be a teensy bit biased here, I do think he’s maybe a little cuter than the average kid). He “passes” for “normal” the way some of my gay friends used to “pass” for straight before coming out. People cannot look at Will and tell that he’s any different. And so I think it comes as even more of a surprise to people when I tell them he has autism.

At first, I didn’t want to tell people Will had autism because it was too painful. I would cry just thinking about autism, so I tried not to talk about it in front of Will. And I knew I didn’t have to tell people, given how Will blended in. So, in those first few months A.D. (that’s “After Diagnosis” in our house), I stuck to telling family and close friends. I even asked them to keep the news to themselves, not out of shame, but out of fear. I was petrified that a girlfriend would mention Will’s autism to another mom, and that I’d then run into that mom, say, at the park. I knew if I had a random acquaintance come up and give me her condolences (because that’s how it felt in the beginning; no one knew what to say except how sorry they were), I would completely break down on the spot.

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