Sunday, September 30, 2012

Life Lessons for the Fall

As a child, my family moved around a bit.  The year I was in fourth grade, I went to three different elementary schools.  That is a lot for a kid.  But I think the experience of moving, attending new schools and meeting new people taught me to be adaptable.  How to learn to make friends over again.  How to adjust.  I remember being so upset at my parents for taking me away from the home and friends that I had.  But once we got to the new house, the new school, all elements fit into place. 

As I got older, I think these life skills have helped.  I pick up on things quickly.  I can make friends quickly.  I can adapt to my new surroundings quickly.

Which makes it interesting for me to see how Jonathan struggles with these things.

He lives off his routines.  He finds comfort and needs the familiarity.  He can adapt and change, but it takes a while for it all to even out...and there is usually A LOT of planning that is necessary for a smooth transition.

I guess where I'm going with this post is... he is not me.  I am not him.

It might be hard for him and easy for me.
It might be easy for him and hard for me.

We are two different individuals, even if he is a little bit of me and his Dad.  He is all Jonathan.  And that person marches to the beat of his own drum.

And in seeing this in him, I see it in others.  I am not them.  They are not me.

We all have our own struggles.  We all deal with SOMETHING.  We may not understand what each person's something is...and things that might be easy or hard for one, is not for another.

Lessons in tolerance. Acceptance in others.  Acceptance in yourself.  Keeping an open mind.

That is what I'm thinking about today.

In the meantime, the leaves are changing and it is getting cooler out.

Jonathan and I went to a picnic this afternoon, and enjoyed some time outside.

He is getting so big.
He is talking so much more.
He is developing his own personality.
He is just Jonathan. And I can't help but love this little boy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Just Talkin'

I am a gusher
A gloater.  A gabber.  A yapper.  A blabber-mouth.  A tell-all open book.
My favorite subject? 
My son.
I talk about him to people that want to hear.  I talk about him to people that don't want to hear...and talk about him anyway. 
I show pictures.  Play videos.  Tell funny stories.
And for the most part, people smile and nod and tolerate me.
Sometimes I'm just talking about my son.
Not my AUTISTIC son. 
Just my funny, quirky, hilarious, sweet son.

He will always have that autistic label, won't he?  It will follow him around like the period at the end of a sentence.

I remember reading in the newspaper about a horribly tragic death of a woman I knew.  In the news stories that followed, the paper not only listed that she left behind two young daughters, but two, young, autistic daughters.  It still stays with me.  Autistic daughters.   Not just two children that lost their mother in an unspeakable way.  But two children with an adjective attached.

And I've also come to realize that by me talking about my son can make others feel uncomfortable.
I think there are people that don't want to hear anything about him, because it makes them uncomfortable to know he may have challenges that are not typical of "regular" kids. 

So when I talk, and show pictures, and play videos, and gloat and gab, I sometimes wonder...are people listening to me talk about my son?  Or are they only hearing me talk about my autistic son?

Nine times out of ten...I'm not even thinking of the "A" word.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tell me about a....

Me: Tell me about a car. 
Jonathan: It has four wheels, a window and you drive it!

In therapy, Jonathan has been working on conversations where he is expected for give full sentance answers.  So far, all have been scripted.  The therapist will show him a picture, and ask the question, "Tell me about a ..."  So for a car, they will tell him the answer, and he will repeat it back.  Eventually he will not need the prompt of them telling him, and he can answer himself.

The goal - eventually he will notice things about objects without needing the of the script/answers from the therapists.

So this morning, while snuggling together in bed, Pepper, our cat, walked over. 

Me: Jonathan.  Tell me about a cat. 
Jonathan: It has ear, eyes, whiskers and you pet it. 

Nice!  So I thought I would see if he could respond to a question that he didn't know.

Me: Jonathan.  Tell me about a Mommy.
Jonathan: (looking at me)  It has eyes, ears, nose.....and you hug it!

I think he passed the test :-)