When They Mention Autism

You know when you’re in a public place at a party, a BBQ or an assembly, and you’re sitting with other parents…

You don’t know them well, but their kids are in your kid’s class, so you all group and make small talk.

It’s all light and breezy and then you hear someone mention autism.

And you just wait.

Sometimes curiosity will tilt my head.
Sometimes my stomach will turn.
My heart will race.

What they say could either make me happy and emotional, or it could go the other way which could end awkwardly for all around by the time my inner bear is finished with them.

Yeah that, that happened again the other day.

This time though, I had Dale with me and before the following words were spoken, I noticed his head tilt like mine does…

He waited.

He’s still new to this, the world of autism. He has experienced quite a lot of therapy sessions now.

He’s seen a meltdown,

He’s created cool straight twig like things for Rory.

He’s mastered how Rory likes bacon.

Rory and him play…he tickles Rory’s feet and Rory will climb up Dale and do a flip thing, over and over.

He’s seen the world of special needs schooling and the ups and downs of the unpredictability each day brings.

He’s still “breaking in” to life with kids.

He’s learnt my girls are messy, noisy, loud, dramatic, caring and beautiful.

He’s also learnt there is no point trying to be right with a 3 year old. The painful string of questions is not worth it….so if she said it’s blue when it is actually red, then fine, pick your battles and yes they can have a chocolate at the check out.

My mum always says, “we are sent what we are meant and we are given what we can handle”.

This person is so meant to be here with my kids, not as their “dad”, as their friend, protector, supporter and shoulder.

The women continued…turns out she is a support worker to adults on the spectrum, she joked about how funny “they all” are.

How honest people on the spectrum are.

She spoke about her previous day working with this young man and she repeated some of the things he said, jokingly.

Another mum commented…

“They see the world differently to us don’t they…”

Dale’s head turned back with a shake. An awkward moment later, I said “oh wow, you are blessed” with a smile.

It was the only time I spoke.

The conversation after that drifted to something different.

The spectrum is so varied. You really can’t say any two people are the same.

As we do, I imagined if that was my son, if someone was describing him in the way she was…all we can do is really hope that the people who work with and choose to be in the field of special needs, do so with a genuine heart and not just as “a job”.

If you’re lucky enough to work with my son one day, please don’t generalize him

He is an individual.
He has a personality.
He has unique interests.

He will make a great friend.

He is not “how they all are” just as you aren’t.

His name is Rory.

You can follow Lucy on her Facebook page at Lucy Watts – Life & Autism.

Interested in writing for Finding Cooper’s Voice? LEARN MORE

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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