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I see Spectrum People….

November 2, 2013

autism-symptoms

I feel like my husband and I have a 6 sense now that we have been immersed in this world of Autism for over 2 years .  Still newbies for sure.  But something has slowly creeped into our lives.  We are able to see and pick out others on the spectrum very quickly.  We can hear the difference between a temper tantrum and a meltdown from across the store.  We can tell the difference between a child being shy, or “rude” when in fact they are overwhelmed.  Or when a child is being called stubborn for not doing something and I can tell it has nothing to do with being stubborn, it’s that they CAN’T  do it!  It’s become such a common thing  that we joke everyone is on the spectrum.  (Not so funny when some numbers show 1-50 children fall on the spectrum)

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We are careful not to blurt out to other parents….”Is your child is Autistic?”  We had that happen to us before our son was diagnosed and it was a moment I will never forget. We had a service repairman at our house.  My son was running, being super loud and in the repairman’s space.  At the time I was 8 months pregnant with my other son, emotional and exhausted. The repairman said “Is he Autistic?”… I just blinked at him.  I was so stunned,  angry, outraged, hurt, upset, and couldn’t even speak!!!   If you know me… the couldn’t even speak part is shocking.  My husband quickly rushed in and said “no he’s just super hyper activate”.  I walked out of the room and cried.  I secretly cursed the repairman under my breath.   5 months later we were staring down at the test results and listening to the doctor tell us he WAS on the autism spectrum.  I will never forget that man and I will always assume he had a child on the spectrum too.

So this Halloween I was very keenly aware of the children that came to our house to trick or treat.  I watched some children that didn’t even want to come up to our door because we had decorations out and spooky sounds and strobe lights.  One child wanted to come up, but just couldn’t do it.  I rushed down with some candy and told him it was alright I would bring the candy to him.  If you could see the look of relief in his eyes when I did that, beautiful.   His mother was so sweet in thanking me and telling me how sorry she was that he was too sacred.. I told her not to be sorry one bit.  My son was overwhelmed at our decorations but he’s had a month to get use to them. She smiled knowingly and we both knew what we shared.  It was wonderful.  We had a few that wouldn’t say trick or treat.. just held out their bags.  In years past I would have made a big deal of “What do you say???”  This year, I just put candy in their bag and said Happy Halloween!  Some smiled big at me, some mumbled thank you and walked back to their parents.  Both just fine with me.   I realized that there is no need to *make a point*, because you know what??  The point would be lost on an Autistic child anyway and making that parent feel bad does nothing…  I know how hard holidays can be.  I know how it feels to just want your child to do what other children do.  And most important to have your child feel safe and excepted, not judged.

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Yes we see Autism all around us now.  It’s taken our own children to open our eyes.  I’m thankful for that.  I think it’s made us kinder and more tolerant with other children.  In past posts I have talked about the small moments bringing the biggest joys….. and the light and smile from these children the other night was a big joy.  Just watch what happens when you are kind!  It can brighten even the darkest of nights…….

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4 Comments
  1. This is a lovely reflection on tolerance in general!

  2. My other half and I feel this way too. “K”‘s appointments are at the Children’s hospital and we often see it in the waiting room. There are times I want to go up to a Mom and start a conversation but what do you say? It’s difficult to recognize your look on someone else’s face and not know how to approach it.

    • I so agree… There are a lot of people I would love to have a talk with. I just remember what I felt when that repairman asked if my son was autistic and that stops me dead in my tracks. (most times) I recently had a wonderful experience talking to someone about this and giving them info. So I learned that if I let them talk and ask questions it’s my in!

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