For the past several years, I have been blogging about my life, and it has helped me process my ever-changing experiences as a woman, a wife and mother. It has helped me share my story and connect with other people in a way that face to face conversations can't. It inspired me to pursue my as-yet-unfulfilled dream of becoming a professional writer.
And I recognize my own limits, the point at which I am unable to write or share, because I am still just another person outside the experience. I will never truly know what it is like inside my son's head, to go through each day as he does, to see the world as he has all his life.
But, thankfully, his ability to communicate is growing.
|Learning the art of selfies|
I was particularly delighted this week that he is learning about writing to a prompt, and loved what he wrote when instructed to write a narrative about a time he played with another child. After wanting to write about me, I directed him to think of an actual kid, and he chose to write about hunting easter eggs with his brothers. The next day, the prompt was to share about someone who has made a difference and been an important part of his life. Of course, I was expecting that he'd want to write about me. There was a tiny chance that he might write about his beloved Nana, but I was gearing up for a little praise fest at the end of a difficult year.
That is not what happened.
After reading the question, "Who is the most important person in your life?" my son immediately began writing the answer. He wrote about himself. And my knee jerk reaction (no doubt influenced by my conceited desire) was to stop him, to make him think about the question again. Then I realized he was probably right. The person who has worked the hardest at speech therapy is James. The person who has made the biggest gains in school this year is James. The person who has learned to tolerate hair cuts and swallowing pills and loud environments is James. I know I've made a difference to this kid, but I also know that I don't work nearly as hard as he does EVERY SINGLE DAY to make sense of the world.
And so, although I've written quite a bit already, I would like to share this space with my son, to introduce the next generation of autistic writers and let you all hear a bit from his side of the spectrum.
James is smart and capable. He is strong. He can
punch anything. He is a boy. He is great at scooter
training. James has a beautiful brain. He can love people
and control the body. He is happy
because he has a heart.
And there you have it. What is it like to be on the autism spectrum? What is important to a ten year old boy? What has made a difference in his life? There are his answers, written in his own hand (transcribed by Mom), phrased in his own voice. I look forward to sharing more and more as he is willing.
**Perhaps I'll write another post explaining "scooter training." My husband and I are absolutely delighted by the hours of free time it gives us in the evening and the uninterrupted conversations we've been able to have because of it.