Before we got thrown head first into the autism pool, I held the same very stereotypical views about people with autism (and parents or caregivers of children with special needs), such as:
- They never make eye contact
- They aren’t affectionate
- They are in ‘their own world’
- Their parents are given superpowers as soon as the diagnosis comes
- That it’s rude to ask parents about their child’s disability. They don’t want to talk about it
etc. I’m pretty sure everyone has the same kind of ‘rain man’ view about it. It’s not anyone’s fault, just like it wasn’t mine before we had Casey. I’ve come to learn though that autism is one of those diseases (and yes, it’s a disease. ooooh, I’ve got a diatribe about this…I’ll post it at the end) that affects each person who has it SO differently. No two children on the spectrum are the same. They’re sensory issues differ, their speaking ability, their capacity for affection…etc. When we were getting Casey diagnosed people didn’t think he was autistic because he liked to cuddle. He wouldn’t let us hold his hand, he still won’t, but he wasn’t completely affectionate.
This morning Casey came in and crawled in bed next to me. It was early. It usually is. He wrapped both of his arms around me (which is getting increasingly hard to do) and whispered, “I love you so much, give me a hug”. It might not have been what I wanted at 5:45 in the morning, but it was JUST what I needed. I know he loves me. I know he feels love. What a wonderful thing that is!
Casey loves people (okay, not all people and not big groups of people), even if he doesn’t act it. If you’ve seen him at church, you’ve seen him in an environment he doesn’t want to be in. He’s a different kid at home. Don’t be afraid to talk to him. To say ‘hi’ or give him a high five. If he doesn’t respond, that’s okay. I love it when people try. It means more to me than anything.
Like I said, church isn’t fun for Casey. One day he was having a really tough time, and so was I, so when he bolted for the door, Mary Felts got up and followed him. I still can’t think about that time without getting tears in my eyes. He let her hold his hand. I got a minute. It was wonderful.
If you have questions, ask. You can’t offend me. You can try, but you’ve never met my family. After years of small doses of funny offenses, I’m IMMUNE.
I don’t know why I’m feeling compelled to write all of this, and I’m very aware that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but this is my blog. And that’s why I named it ‘ramblings’. I ramble. A lot.