Susan Senator is a writer in Massachusetts and the author of “The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide” and “Making Peace With Autism.” This column first appeared in The Washington Post.
MADISON, Conn. -- I’m tired of being called brave. But being the mom of a deeply autistic young man of 22, I can’t avoid it. Because I survived. Ever since Nat’s birth, in the Autism Stone Age of 1989, I have had to be a Saber-Toothed Tiger Mother — or at least pretend to be one. From finding the right doctors to getting my town to do right by him, to also doing right by my other two sons, I have always had to be strong — or feign strength. No one has real answers. They didn’t then, and they don’t now. It has always been up to my husband and me. I never thought that figuring out autistic adulthood would be the same way. Now that Nat has finished school, I feel like I am right where I started, the diagnosis days: grieving, confused, panicked. I’m sad because I miss the comfort and safety of the old routines.