An Interview with a Parent Navigating Two Generations of Autism

An Interview with a Parent Navigating Two Generations of Autism

If you missed last month’s post in this series, you can click here, or join me for a short recap:

An Interview with a parent navigating Two Generations of Autism, Michelle Christiansen.

Two_Generations_Autism on Special_Happens 450xSo, what’s like living with two generations of Autism?

Um… it’s not easy, that’s for sure. But it’s our life. Slowly, gradually, we’ve adjusted and it seems like we’re constantly adjusting, but that’s expected since people grow and change. Things can be frustrating at times, but we all love each other and seem to understand that we want what’s best for each other, so together we’ll travel this path.

How has your family handled the discovery of the second generation of Autism?

Well, I can say that my side of the family is very supportive…but they’ve always been that way. They’re always behind us, 100%. I can’t imagine them not ever being supportive. They are always there for us. Hub’s side of the family? That’s a bit of a different story. I’m not sure they even comprehend the extent of our son’s diagnosis, let alone could handle the news that their son is on the spectrum too. It sounds harsh…but it’s our reality.

Do your children know?

Since our kids are still young, we haven’t said anything about autism. They do know that people are different, but specific differences haven’t come up in conversations. When questions are asked, we will answer them. Our goal is to be honest with our children. About everything. I am having a difficult time deciding when to tell our 7yo about his diagnosis. He and his siblings haven’t voiced any questions about his therapists or behaviors yet, but like I said, they’re still young. My hope is that one day they will know.

How has this discovery affected your relationship with your spouse?

Well, as much as I’d like to say “nothing’s changed”, it has. Perhaps not so much on the surface, but I have gained a deeper appreciation for little things, like when he remembers my favorite sinus medication or chocolate bar. So yes, it’s changed my viewpoint for the better. I’m more willing to forgive (and let go of) trivial things. We also talk more about autism and its affect… so I’d say communication has increased as well. It feels like we’re more of a team…and we’re moving towards the future.

(You can follow Michelle’s Series, Two Generations of Autism and other series… get it in your inbox here).

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