I Would Not Change My Son for the World

“I would not change my son for the world. I would change the world for my son.”  I came across this quote the other day and it reminded me: This is why I share my son’s story.  There is so much about his autism experience that is out of my control.

What I can do though is spread awareness and hope that it leads to a little understanding, patience and compassion.

My son, Wilson, is four and a half years old and was diagnosed with autism at three and a half.  He loves pirates, trains, keys and playing outside.  He has a spunky little sister named Charlie, who is two and a half.

Wilson’s perseverance is truly admirable. If he wants something, he is going to figure out a way to get it! He is a problem solver; if he can’t reach it, he’ll find something to climb on so he can.

Even when he struggles to “find” his words, he continues to try until he can get his needs across. His memory is incredible. This helps him excel with puzzles, numbers, songs and remembering where we hide things from him.

While he tends to be very energetic, he can also focus intensely on things that really interest him. He is great at building towers, helicopters, trucks and trains with either his magnetic tiles or Legos.

He is a mover! He loves to run, jump, bounce, spin, slide, climb, dance and swing. He loves being chased by his sister and his friends. He is excited to go places and is usually running, not walking, to get there.

He is a collector and has mastered carrying multiple objects, toys, juice boxes and snacks all at one time. Wilson lights up when music plays; he loves songs and instruments and imitating new dance moves that his dad teaches him.

All of these parts make up my son Wilson. He is truly unique.

Many people are unaware of the reasons behind some “autistic behaviors”.  Autism affects communication, social development and sensory processing, with the degree to which these areas are affected being unique to each individual.  Sensory processing difficulties are really hard to understand because the triggers can be invisible to neurotypical people.

I am slowly learning more about the triggers and sensitivities in Wilson’s world.  He is very sensitive to bright lights and certain sounds. He has left the room screaming or cowered in my lap over noises that a random toy will make.  He is very particular about what clothing he will wear and what foods he will eat.

He often studies toys or objects by turning his head completely sideways or upside down.  He seeks movement and pressure and likes to bump into people or be wrapped up tightly in hugs or blankets.

He is learning ways to cope with his anxiety and sensory reactions, like chewing on something or taking deep breaths.

Sometimes singing a familiar song will help.  Many people with autism find comfort in routines and repetition, just like Wilson. He says things repetitively, plays with toys in the same manner or repeats little scenes over and over.  He gets irritated if we take a different route to therapy or home.

My son is also gentle and sweet. When he is very upset, even if I am the cause, he will usually take me up on my offer for a hug. He loves to be held tight and cuddled. He forgives and he loves.

When his sensory system is overloaded though, he breaks down.  His first reaction is to scream. His screams have reached an all-new high pitch.  He usually becomes limp, hits, or tries to run away. Sometimes he’ll hit himself in the head, slam doors or push furniture down. People stare and make snarky remarks.

Luckily, this only bothers my husband and I. Wilson doesn’t read other’s emotions well or understand the comments.

Someday he will though.

So, let’s talk to our kids about how all their friends are unique, and that it is a beautiful thing. How we all learn at a different pace, and speak in distinct ways, but can still have so much in common with one another.  All children could benefit from a friend to help them overcome challenges and build confidence and self-worth.

My friend Erin put it so sweetly, “Wilson isn’t ordinary. He is EXTRAORDINARY”.

Let’s teach our children acceptance and inclusion. Let’s change the world.

Written by, Lauren Emmett

You can follow Lauren and Wilson’s journey at Wilson’s Climb. Lauren started a blog to keep everyone updated on her son’s progress and with the dream that it can be one small piece in helping to spread autism awareness around the world.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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When my son was first diagnosed with autism no one was talking about it. Autism was hidden. I vow to change that.
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