Autism and Finding Connection with Siblings

C,H and Wfeat
My son Cooper,

Last night was one of those special nights.

I was outside in the backyard pushing your younger siblings on the swings when I heard you come outside.

Slow at first.

You wandered to a deck chair and sat down.
Then to the stairs leading down the deck.

I think you found a fly. It must have landed on you because I heard you gasp and giggle than shake your hand to the sky and point.

You wandered some more. Never in a straight line. In fact I didn’t even know if you were coming to see us.

Midway through you found the lid to the tin garbage can and tapped it on the stucco wall of the house. You laughed at the sound. I did not.

The look you gave me said come play.

Eventually you made your way to us.

You sat on a swing next to your brother and sister and for ten whole minutes I pushed all three of you.

That’s never happened before.

I think I may have even been holding my breath. I didn’t want it to end.

Once you signed ‘all done’ I assumed you’d leave us. But no. Instead you climbed the ladder to the base of the swing set.

And you made yourself comfortable right in front of the slide.

And for another 15 minutes or so the toddlers climbed all over you.

As I watched all of this unfold I found myself thinking about autism. Your autism. Unique to you.

I am your translator. Your buffer. You protector. I switch between softening your edges and the world’s too.

Wondering how you fit into this world. Me too I guess.

I may appear confident. But so often I feel like an imposter. A spy even. Peering into a world that I wasn’t made for.

I rarely know what you are thinking. Or why. Or even what.

I guess. I trust. I hope.

But mostly I am blind.

Blindly wondering and protecting. Full of prayer, hope, and determination too.

You are a mystery to me my sweet boy.

The most beautiful kind.
Thank you for being patient with me. And for teaching me.

And joining us last night.

30 minutes you stayed with us.

Your siblings needed it. I needed it.

And maybe you did too.
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.
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Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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