Those letters, "ASD", however insignificant or little they may seem, have the power to turn your world upside down while at the same time turn it back the right side up.
I used to think I was crazy. No, honestly, I did. I always knew my son was "different".
But to be honest, after having 2 colicky boys before him, I welcomed the silence.
I had 4 children when my son entered my life; so life was busy. The fact that he never wanted to look at me, or touch me while I nursed him; the fact that he would fall asleep without cuddles, or rocking; the fact that he showed no desire to be picked up when I would near him were actually welcomed things to me in my already crazy world. He was a "good baby", but as he neared his first bday, the easy going nature started to grow into a boy who craved isolation.
He was a little "slower", in crawling, walking, and speech; but he was #5 in a family of 5 children. I figured his easy going nature, and older siblings left him not needing to advance the way my other children had.
With the growth of my little man came the challenges; slowly at first - he did not want to play with other children, or even his siblings; he was quite content to be on his own. And when he wanted to play, he would just steal a toy and run away.
The challenges became my own; it would annoy me when my son would cringe and cower away from his own grandparents and aunts, when they tried to hug or kiss him. I felt I was always apologizing for him. Apologizing he didn't want kisses, apologizing he was stealing toys, apologizing he was rude and disobedient in the store, apologizing when on my last trip I ever took with him to the grocery store, I had to pick him up and place him crying while in the fetal position in the buggy with groceries stacked around him.
When he was 4, my dear friend broached the subject of "Aspergers" with me over coffee. I had never heard of it, and so turned to our good old faithful friend "Google" after she left. I'm not going to lie; I cried. This was my son, and yet, there were differences in what I was reading.
Kindergarten had a new set of challenges. A boy who only wanted to sit and watch others play, unless he could play with his cousin. A child who would forgo recess to sit and do work one on one with his teacher (bless her heart, because I'm sure she would have rather enjoyed a coffee on her own,lol).
And so after some testing, and talking, we were off to see a paediatrician.
I remember that day clearly a year ago. The day that I was told that my son was on the Spectrum. It turned my world upside down, with questions of what now? Where do I go from here? How do I approach, deal, tell and live with this news? And yet, it turned my world up right. I had a new found relief of finally accepting that he was different for a reason, and realizing I had no need to apologize anymore for who he was.
He's still just my boy,
and as he grows, he and I are learning; and we face new challenges.
I have to figure out ways to convince him he is not dying when he scrapes his knee. The blood curdling screams are sure to make anyone believe he is on his last leg. Or figuring out how to curb his anger. How do I make him go from 0-60 in 2 mins as opposed to 2.2 seconds.
I have to find ways for him to tolerate loud noises and busy places.
But the real battles lie among the every day things;
teaching him to say "hi" to people when they greet him. Teaching him that he can not mimic people or mock them when they ask questions he does not understand. Teaching him to say simple things such as, "I did not hear you", or "I do not understand what you're saying".
Trying to help him see that the world is not such a scary place.
And it's exhausting. I have fought systems, people, and services. I have spent more time talking, researching and teaching. I have spent hours on the phone, and computer.
I have realized that some days, I do not have the patience, the know-how, or the ability to do this. But I have love, and trust, and faith in God, who placed this boy in my life, that I can.
I have come to realize that most people do not understand what it's like to have a child on the Spectrum. They see a healthy, normal boy, and don't realize the inner struggles behind closed doors. But I'm ok with that. I'm ok that some people may never realize or know the truth.
The truth is, that it's a different world. But it's beautiful. It's beautiful because he has taught me more about myself then I have ever taught him. It has given me an opportunity to teach my other children, and it has made me realize that of all things; I am to be humble. Humble in how I look at, judge, and treat others.
And that's really the truth of it all; and for that, I am thankful.
I am so blessed to be able to learn from my little boy.
So take a look around you today, and ask yourself;
"Who's going to be able to teach me?"
And will you let them?
Try being teachable; you may find it's a beautiful thing,
and you may be surprised at what you learn about yourself!