We are told to be authentic and share our lives. My life has one giant theme that changed the way I see the rest of the world. It's like my body was given a new set of eyes that see intentions and motivations more clearly the day I suspected my child might have a disability.
When my twins were just over a year, my son wasn't reaching the verbal milestones his sister was and although I have always been careful to not compare them too closely. I had that pit in my stomach where intuition lives. It has stayed for the resulting 81/2 years, not because of the disability, but because I constantly worry that people will only see that one aspect about him.
Shortly after the eye and hearing tests, we were sent to a team that diagnosed my guy as developmentally disabled, at age 3 he had a formal diagnosis of Autistic. We have been through so many therapies, doctors, difficulties and supports that I have a 4" binder filled with every evaluation and milestone achieved (many very delayed).
I'm not going to write about him, because his story is private. I am going to write about me, so you get to know me. I have never known anyone who loves so genuinely as this little man. He has very few layers and that means that it takes little to get him upset, or straight to his heart. He is vulnerable because of that and I am hopeful that people will learn a little about how to be his ally.
He is very smart. He remembers so many things that it's staggering, and his mind works in a way that I can't even comprehend sometimes. I want people to get to know that person, but that means sometimes he will want to talk about things he's comfortable with until he knows you..like Cars or Thomas the Train, and for a 9 year old, that might not be cool. If parents knew how to talk to kids about how to be accepting, you'd learn more about my little guy and have someone who would love you for the rest of your life. Show them that sometimes kids get nervous like being on stage, just to talk to a new person.
He still remembers a friend he had when he was 3. They live in San Diego now, and he's a big brother to twin brothers. My son wanted to go visit them and see what a big brother does just in case he ever needs to be one. He thinks of others and wants to do the right thing.
He is kind. He will give you his favorite toy if he thinks it'll make you happy when you're sad, and he can tell if you're sad just by standing next to you. Tell kids that they can talk to autistic kids when they are sad, or happy or just want to have a friend. The autistic kid might not know what to say, but they like being included just like anyone else.
Sometimes autistic kids have a hard time with eye contact. That's because sensory processing is a little off, like watching a television show that has a delay to speech. It's hard to watch someone's face when the sound isn't matched up. Just because they don't look you in the eye, doesn't mean they don't like your face!
Sometimes noise is painful. Think of the worst noise you can imagine. Nails on a chalkboard....now have that all day long because of a florescent bulb buzzing. Autistic people are heroes who manage the world we have created with sometimes silly, sometimes destructive behaviors.
Start in compassion, and work from there and you'll be able to see the wonderful moments that are able to happen with someone who has this diagnosis.
You might get the best moments you'll ever experience. The most truthful, loving and happiest moments.
My name is Starlite, and before you ask, YES! My parents were hippies. I am an artist who has traveled all over the world and settled in Suffolk, VA. It's a quaint part of Hampton Roads that I liken to Mayberry at times.
I am an artist who teaches classes around Hampton Roads and sells private commissions for artwork and murals.
I am a big fan of sarcasm, craft beer & bourbon. I love the water and a good book, ferris wheels, bad dancing and good conversations.