It’s the Little Things…
My son takes the container off the bookshelf and sits in his usual place on the floor between his bed and desk. He unscrews the red cap and turns the container over to dump his mini-skateboard toys onto the carpet.
As I watch him set up his latest favorite activity, I am thinking about what to post for April 30th – for the Autism Positivity Flash Blog: 1000 “Ausome” Things. I want to participate, to post something “ausome” in support of all the people who share my son’s diagnosis. Autism, of course, shapes my child’s personality and perspective, and I know that I could write about one of those things that I appreciate and love about this quirky kid of mine – as I have in many other ways on this blog over this past year.
But, I wonder. What would my son say is “ausome” about autism?
It’s hard for me to remember a time when I wasn’t aware of autism.
Eleven short years ago, I had no idea what autism was. I didn’t know anything about raising a child on the spectrum, or even that there was a “spectrum.”
Within six months of my son’s diagnosis – which came just before he turned three years old – I had shifted from almost total ignorance into a state of hyper-awareness. It’s like when you get a new car, and suddenly you start to see that same make and model on the road everywhere. Before you had one, you didn’t notice how many of them were out there, in your neighborhood, every day. Now, you wonder how you never saw so many of this car before. Some are in a different color, with slightly different features, but they are all immediately recognizable. Because you’ve got one now too.
In those early months after we received our son’s diagnosis, I gobbled up medical, educational and therapeutic strategies, drowning myself in information. I rushed to every conference and workshop put on by our local chapter of the Autism Society, so eager to master this new field, and uncover the clues that could help me connect with my child.
One of the best things that those conferences gave me was the opportunity to listen to autistic individuals themselves explain what life was like for them. As a “newbie” parent of a non-verbal three-year-old boy, I was inspired by and in awe of their incredible accomplishments. Here were men and women with autism leading successful lives. Here were witty, imaginative people who could communicate, interact, and describe in their own words what it was like to be autistic. Here was a group of people who got it.