Friday, November 15, 2019
Hey, You …
I am beyond excited to introduce you to our guest Meechie this month, Yetta Myrick.
I was introduced to Yetta’s energy and warmth before I even met her in person. Her passion and Black Girl Magic are undeniable and it’s a joy to be around her … except at Silent Retreats, she’s a bad influence there.
This month, Yetta writes to us about her son, Aidan, and challenges us to consider differences.
In this climate of magnifying and vilifying other-ness, it’s more important than ever to get down to our core common-ness, our humanity, the things and the ways in which we are more alike.
If you know what I know, you’d hold her and her message very, very close.
I present to you, Yetta Myrick.
My Superpower is that I am an Autism Mom!
Hands down, I would not be the person I am today without my son, Aidan.
Aidan is a kind soul, a talented artist who is good at so many things. He loves to go to school, swimming, horseback riding, bowling, visiting museums, yoga and the movies.
My kid is amazing! My renaissance man.
He just so happens to have been diagnosed with Autism, Intellectual Disability, and ADHD.
He has taught me so much over the years … patience, understanding, and perseverance.
As a baby, Aidan was always on the go, and had difficulty sitting still for more than five minutes. BUT NOW … NOW, at 16 my big baby, (Yes, he is still my baby), can sit through, at minimum, an hour-long art session.
Aidan can travel to his jobsite on the metro (YES, THE METRO), once a week with his classmate and instructor and completes tasks independently.
Now, you are probably wondering … How did we get from the baby who was always on the go, to the young man who is going to work?
It was a lot of hard work, but maybe not how you may be thinking it.
Sure, we have been working with therapists for a number of years, and I made it a point to educate myself and get trained on how best to support and teach him.
But, let me be clear, that was not the hard work for me. The hard work comes, (this is ongoing), in navigating systems and case managing his care.
I will never forget the time his school occupational therapist said to me, “This must be hard for you, because he looks normal.”
What is normal?
Is being different abnormal?
A bad thing?
I could have taken that ignorant statement and given up, but instead, I chose to push on.
And let’s not forget navigating a world that is aware of autism, but does not fully understand how it manifests in people, because it varies from person to person.
Have you heard the saying, If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism? No truer words have been spoken.
Like so many parents, I want my son — disability or not — to be a functional part of society. But I also want society to embrace him for who he is.
It is Aidan’s differences that make him unique and special.
He is not abnormal or bad.
He just needs extra support to navigate the world.
Aidan is my gift, and through my advocacy, I found my purpose to not only support him, but the greater disability community.
Yetta Myrick is the mother of a teenage son diagnosed with Autism, Intellectual Disability, and ADHD. She is the Founder and President of DC Autism Parents (DCAP), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Washington, DC, and serves as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” Ambassador to the District of Columbia. Yetta strives to empower parents to be engaged in their children’s development and education.