I’m not one to get caught up in semantics.  
It doesn’t offend me if someone says Cuyler is autistic as opposed to saying he has autism.  That’s the PC way to say it but I’ve never really been much into PC.
A lot of people who have kids on the spectrum refer to kids not on the spectrum as NT or “neuro-typical” or “normal” (accompanied with finger quotes).
I’ll use either of these terms.  Sometimes I just say typical.  Sometimes I just say normal.

Ya ya…we can get into the whole discussion about “what is normal?” – but lets not, kay?

I often wonder if I am the only mom of a child with autism who every now and then fantastizes that the autism is gone and that their child is “normal”
The sensory issues are gone.  The dietary issues are gone.  The social deficiencies are gone.  
That he’ll drive. He’ll date. He’ll go to parties. He’ll get a job, get married, live independently.
I hope all of those things for him – I really do. 

But I am also a realist.  
Anyways – I feel like I got a taste of the fantasy coming true this past Tuesday.
I took Cuyler to the dentist.  He walked in and confidently said “Hi.  It’s me Rick.  I’m here!”
The receptionist winked at me, smiled and said “How are you Rick?”  He replied that he was good and asked where Brenda was – she cleans his teeth.

Brenda came and asked if he was ready.  “Yep!” and walked back with her.  And left me there.
I was able to see into the room from where I was sitting.  Cuyler hopped up in the chair, got the bib and sunglasses on and Brenda reclined the chair.  She checked his teeth.
Cleaned them with the scaler.  Polished them.  Flossed them.  The dentist came in to do her exam.  She asked him several questions.  He answered all of them (correctly!).  She told me his teeth look great – no cavities! and left.
Brenda gave him a flouride treatment.

And we were done.

I bolded all of the above because that has never happened before.  So easily.  Without fidgeting or struggles or a little bit of crying.  At the end – Brenda and I just looked at each other, we both said “Wow!” and then looked away.  I think we were both about to cry.

Two things were going through my mind.
1) How the eff does the kid who refused a toothbrush near his mouth for the first 4 years of his life have no cavities (and the other 2 do)??
2) Patience always pays off and baby steps will get you everywhere.

Cuyler is 8.  He went to the dentist for the first time about 2years ago.
He wouldn’t sit in the chair.  And all she was able to do was count his teeth.  The next time she brushed them a little.  The next time she did a flouride treatment.  The last time he got in the chair (without reclining) and she counted brushed and flouride.  This time she did everything that she would do for a normal cleaning.  No modifications, nothing left out.  
Just a normal visit to the dentist.
I suppose if we hadn’t gone through all we have been through to get to that day I wouldn’t have been able to feel the joy of such a normal experience for him.
Just like the rainbow.

I guess that’s why I always say that life without autism might be easier, but I doubt it would be better.  


  • Spa Sisters

    Wow, good for Rick! That’s fabulous (I don’t know many other 8yr olds who can pull off an alter-ego as confidently as Cuyler does!)
    You just made me smile:)

  • Erin Little

    Ditto to all the comments here too!
    Yay for Cuyler! And for you.
    Thanks for sharing here and giving us insight.

  • Terry

    Ditto on all the comments!
    Humour, joy, hope, pain… this post has it all Christine!
    Rick. Love that!

  • Amreen

    You are SUCH a great writer. This trip to the dentist is articulated so eloquently and with so much genuine emotion that it melts my heart.

  • Jen

    “That he’ll drive. He’ll date. He’ll go to parties. He’ll get a job, get married, live independently.”
    This broke my heart, Christine. I totally take these things for granted. I don’t appreciate the simplicity and predictability enough. Until I read this post today.
    Thank you.

  • Tracey

    This is sooooooo wonderful, doll!! Wow. Maybe it’s because he’s “Rick” and damned proud about it…
    But really, I guess he’s just figuring out his own stuff in his own time – I hope so much for you all that more and more of these “peccadilloes” will right themselves… and I hope the next one is about the thunder. (Oy.)
    You’re doing such a great job, lady!!

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