I stood at the edge of my front yard on a very blistery day. The sweat ran down the inside fo my shirt, and the man in front of me was drenched. He was delivering the mail. I was asking the postperson about a letter that had a pay check in it that was discovered, opened, and destroyed a few days before. I wanted to know what happened and what I could do to make sure it didn’t happen again. The conversation took about 15 minutes. Turns out the neighborhood was having a mail theft problem, and my comment created the solution of this problem. During the whole conversation, my son spun in counterclockwise circles. A few times he ran into me, a few times he ran into the mailbox. I was very aware that the postperson kept looking at him and questioning why I wasn’t doing something with his eyes. I was just happy he wasn’t doing anything else.
We went to the library as a family. Always an outing I love. As soon as we get in the library, my 9 year old son skips ahead of us. I call him back and remind him that’s not how we act in the library. He begins to cry. We continue to walk, and he walks 10 paces behind us, till he sees the kid area and begins “fast skipping” towards the section. He hits his sister in the arm, he almost knocks down two elderly people, and then I call him back all within a minute. He didn’t see anyone, and he didn’t know he hit anyone. In fact, he fully believes his sister is lying about the whole thing. He throws himself in a chair and cries. His sister touches his library card on the key ring, and he has to be taken out because of the Fit.
We’re going to see tow trucks…my son’s favorite. He runs from truck to truck…exclaiming excitement and enjoyment at each truck. A few of the operators asked him what he liked and he listed off the kind of truck, what the truck does, and his favorite trucks that are there…all while never making eye contact. One of the men begins talking to him, but a truck has begun to load up a car, and my son runs over in mid conversation. As he runs, he trip two people and knocks a baby to the ground. Later when he’s told he did this, he has not recollection of the events. Then it’s off to play tag and run in circles. The happiest day in the world!
I know I don’t live in his world, and when I watch him play byhimself because he has eroded so many friendships, or he’s crying because he doesn’t understand what he did wrong, or he is balling because he couldn’t handle the situation….I feel sad. I try to bring him into our world, but I know I have to understand his before he can come into mine.
Autism is so hard because it is so different from the “norm”. People that suddenly can’t speak. People suddenly jumping up and down or flapping or spinning. This is against all the social rules were taught…yet, this is their world and they see nothing wrong with it. Sit with a group of autistic kids, and they won’t comment on each others’ behavior, they simply say that’s Rick or that’s Jacob. When they fill the room with information about 1 subject, we could say…wow, I wish it was a normal conversation, or we can start talking notes. They know more about their subject than we will ever know or even comprehend.
April is Autism awareness month. Take a moment to educate yourself about autism and the many people who are autistic. Get to know them…they will love it if you just see them for who they are and not what you want them to be.