Just See Him and Say Hello

I’ve learned so many things on this journey of parenting a child with autism.

I’ve learned that many people get scared of the word autism.

I’ve learned that some people think my son is deaf because he’s nonverbal. Or that he can’t answer questions.

I’ve watched people get nervous by flapping or his unique sounds. Or by his silence.

I’ve watched people completely ignore him.

Or they ask me questions for him. ‘Is he hungry?’ Which I respond with, ‘Let’s ask him.’

These aren’t bad people. They aren’t mean. Usually they are wonderful, curious people that want to get to know my son.

They are just nervous. And I understand.

Kids like my son are often home more often. They aren’t running around parks. They aren’t invited to birthday parties.

So therefore, they aren’t seen as much.

There is also a stigma around kids with autism or other disabilities.

People get nervous around wheelchairs. Or when kids flap or make unique sounds. Or have physical disabilities.

I get it. I want to help and tell you what means the most to me as a mom.

It’s pretty simple really.

I just want you to see him. And acknowledge him. And say hi.

I don’t want the word autism to scare you. I don’t want the word nonverbal to mean anything at all.

So honestly, just forget those words.

The only words that matter are Cooper, hello and maybe train.

I just want you to acknowledge him.

Bend down. Get his attention. Smile. And say hi Cooper.

Don’t be nervous if he doesn’t respond right away. It sometimes takes him a while. But I promise, he will always wave back.

If you ask him a question, he may respond with a hand gesture, a grunt or a sound. Or even on his speech device.

And I will help you decipher it’s meaning. That’s my job.

He may touch your cheek to get your attention. Or tap your arm.

Try not to be too nervous if he touches you. That is how he says hi sometimes.

He may hit himself in the head or flop to the ground if he gets frustrated. I know this will make you nervous.

And that’s okay too.

Look to me if you have questions.

It’s almost funny to me now. Now that I live in this secret world.

My wish is for people to acknowledge my son. Something so simple.

I really love when people use his name. And try to get his attention.

And especially when they ask to see his things. You get extra points if you sit down by him. Trust me, he will be in heaven if you gasp at his trains.

Please know that you are not only making his day, you are making Jamie and I so happy.

When your kiddo has a disability like Cooper, we worry that our kids are invisible. I know it sounds funny. But it’s true.

Just see him. Please. It’s as simple as that.

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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, subscribe for exclusive videos, 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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