We are at a friends's house for Thanksgiving
One of the guests is a teacher who is a retired Special Needs teacher. She has worked a lot with Autistic children over the years
We are having a great time at the party and we have brought along R's Macbook ( actually DH'sbut when travelling it becomes R's )
He is on the Playhouse Disney Site looking at Ooh and Aaah ( two monkeys )
I and the hostess are standing around the kitchen island .
The retired teacher looks at what R is doing and says " he is liking the screen becasue of all the shaking and the moving images.. Autistic children love things that move"
I look at her - a little taken aback
She has just relegated what R is doing to a state of mindlessness
( and he is ever mindful )
A while ago I would have felt stung
But not today
I look at what R is doing and reply
"not at all .. he is playing a game - if you click on the instruments you can make the monkey characters play that instrument .. and you can keep adding different instruments till it turns into an orchestra .. he loves music.. you see "
She looks again at what R is doing and then nods her head
Its an important developmental leap for me to trust our own eyes the most
A friend of mine - Debbie - gave me some great advice a little while ago
I was expressing anxiety about going to India
This is the first time we are going after Autism.
I am not looking forward ( to put it mildly ) to having to explain Autism to everybody
But this friend said that the important thing is to look at your child through your own eyes and not as others see him
I have been chewing over this profound thought
And this Thanksgiving I got to put it into practice.
My anxiety over this has simply dissipated with this simple perspective
This perspective is very different than learning how to cope with people's reactions to our kiddos not looking like other kiddos
I knew that always
Followed the principle of - if R was not bothering anyone and not hurting himself - he was fine to do what he wanted
Even if that thing was to coo at all aisle numbers, sit down in the birthday aisle gasping with wonder at all the birthday cards around him that said you are 1 .. you are 4 and so on and so forth
This perspective is about not letting just anybody's else's impression of your child influence your opinion of your child
Its about being selective about the persepctives and the advice we special needs parents get ( sometimes on a daily basis )
That was about steeling oneself ... learning not to mind .. training oneself to not always be in the mode of correcting your child ( for things that are not even wrong )
This is about not minding at all
This is better!