I’d like to thank the high school student who put autism into perspective for me. I was subbing for a gym class yesterday and they had assemblies in the auditorium all day, so we had study hall in a lecture hall. I mention to the afore mentioned boy in passing conversation, that my son had autism. My son is five; he’s verbal, but has trouble expressing himself. The boy in the gym class was autistic, formally classified Asperger’s, as well. Had I had more time, I would have picked his brain all day long, he was brilliant! (intelligent brilliant and British brilliant 🙂 ) He helped me get a glimpse of what it’s like to be autistic. I will never know the full extent of what it’s like to experience ASD because I’m not autistic. I can read about the signs and symptoms until I’m blue in the face, but I will never be able to experience them. Oftentimes I feel like an outsider when L has meltdowns. I can’t always pinpoint the causes, and sometimes it takes me hours or even days to figure out what the trigger was. Only after I figure it out, can I take actions to avoid them or ease him into them. The biggest piece of advice that my gym class buddy let me in on was this, “don’t treat him differently.” I agree with him, I try to treat him like the normal little boy that he is, Liam is wiring is different and sometimes we have to work around that.
So in essence, thank you to the high school boy, whose name I should have figured out, for giving me a glimpse into my son’s head and for totally schooling me on what it means to have autism. And most importantly, thank you for renewing my hope in his future.