Note: Hunter, my son, has came leaps and bounds since this post. I am going to be posting older blogs to bring everyone up to speed on where we started to where we are now. Thanks.
Yesterday was World Autism Awareness Day. Did you even know that? We have been blessed with a wonderful son who struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome. I say blessed because it is a blessing, yet, at the same time, a curse. It’s a blessing in the aspect that he is able to see things through eyes that we “normal” people don’t see. Yeah, sometimes it’s a little off the wall, but, what a mind he has. He has a sensitivity to things that we don’t understand. He can hear things that we don’t hear. Imagine things that we don’t, can’t or (for the most part) refuse to imagine. He’s brilliant.
The downside is that while all these things are great, they also can create struggles and turmoil for him. Hearing things that we can’t hear can drive him crazy. The high pitch of a fan or the hum of the TV or the buzz of the electric in the wires. Seeing things that we can’t see gives him headaches and makes his eyes hurt. Fluorescent lights have an effect on him that even I don’t understand. Mention that we have to go to Walmart and it sends him into a tailspin. He loathes that place. He is sensitive to touch. Sometimes it hurts. Other times, just the slightest touch, make him so tickleish that he can’t control himself. Those are the funny times. When he wants you to have tickle fights.
The struggle for us, as his parents, is daily. Just trying to maintain. Trying to explain to him and get him to understand why he can’t do certain things that other kids can do. Trying to keep him calm and trying to get him to understand that everything is going to be okay. When his lego town has something that is moved on it, you would think the world is coming to an end. Trying to help him understand the give & take of a conversation. Trying to help him understand why people do the things that they do or say the things that they say. People, sometimes, are our biggest struggle. When we are in public and he starts to meltdown because he is SO overstimulated. Too many people, too loud of sounds, too much light, too much whatever. He has an on/off switch. It is either on and he takes in every thing around him or it’s off and he hears nothing. When it’s off, he does it to be able to just cope. Sure, I call his name when he runs through a crowd of people and he won’t answer me. It’s not becuase he’s being directly disobedient. He’s just trying to survive and get through the crowd to a quieter place. Just because he doesn’t have a physical, obvious disablity, doesn’t mean that there isn’t something more going on. Instead of being critical, try to see something more. Study up. Educate yourself. You will get to a point where you will almost be able to recognize a child or individual, quickly, who struggles with a Spectrum Disorder. They have SO much to offer this world. Without their creative minds and out-of-the-box thinking, we wouldn’t have the inventions and creations that we have. Instead of trying to turn them into someone normal, embrace their uniqueness and learn from it. I’m not saying that some of the behaviors don’t need help. Believe me they do. We work on them daily. The simple things for us, are, most of the time, the most difficult things for them. Yet, the complicated things for us can be the simplest for them.
I love to just sit and watch my son. Just to see his mind at work. To see him figure things out. It’s amazing. And then to hear him tell me all about what HE figured out all on his own. My heart breaks for the parents who’s children can’t speak. I couldn’t imagine.
I guess my point is, please don’t judge to quickly. You don’t know the whole story of what’s going on. Don’t be offended if you ask my son (or any child on the spectrum) a question and he doesn’t answer and just turns and walks away. ASK FIRST before you touch him. He doesn’t like to be touched. Sometimes it hurts. But, there are times when it’s okay. Just ask first and don’t be offended if he says no. Don’t stare. My son is well aware that he is different. People staring is a trigger for him and can start a tailspin faster than you can blink. People don’t realize how much of an effort it is to come out into public for him. And believe me, it makes for a long day for us.
God has a plan for him. And he’s going to do great things. He gave him sensitivities for a reason. He gave him the ability to see things from a totally different perspective. That will be a HUGE help someday for someone. That someone could be you. Love these children unconditionally. They deserve it just like everybody else. =) Be blessed!