Yesterday I was in the grocery store waiting for my husband by the exit when a little boy, anxious to help his mommy, ran ahead to push a door open for her. Unfortunately, he chose the emergency exit door, which, in fairness to the child, from his height, looked like a regular door. Immediately a shrill piercing alarm began to sound and I did a slow pan across the front of the store looking for the manager who I was sure would be running with his jangling keys in hand to remedy the situation.
I stopped mid pan at a little boy who was standing with his dad. He was sobbing, burying his head into his dad’s leg, trying to alternately press one ear and then the other against dad so he could stop the noise. I instantly knew he had Asperger’s. His chest was heaving in an out and the terror on his face was painful to see. His dad picked him up, spoke comforting words that everything was OK and took him outside away from the noise. My husband came and we headed outside as well.
The father was talking the little boy through it, telling him what had happened and constantly reassuring him he was safe. He spoke calmly and quietly and gently maintained physical contact with the boy at all times. He was encouraging him to stand on his own and he was leading him through processing it all. Continue reading
Recently, as I sat waiting for my husband, I overheard a conversation between two ladies. They were discussing their “handicapped” child who was now an adult. Woven into the conversation was all the pain of raising a child in a world that does not understand or make a lot of space for children with special needs. The mother talked about how difficult her life had been, trying to keep the balance between preparing her child and protecting him from the world. She talked about how she had to keep him from taking on activities he was sure to fail in. As the conversation progressed a few things became obvious. Continue reading
My Dearest Noah;
I hope you know how much you are loved and that your pockets are full to overflowing with that love. I hope it is love that helps you to shape the shield that you will need to do battle with life.
You have made us smile from the moment you were born with your bright blue eyes, and your red hair. Your thoughtful evaluation of things before you speak and your drawl is a delight to all of us. We have enjoyed your prowess in the swimming pool, your willingness to try new things and to be part of what the other kids are doing, just enjoying being “in the game,” without every getting caught up or lost in whether you are winning, or are the best. How I wish I had been more open, like you are, to experiencing things, and less burdened with the notion of what others thought. Continue reading