Last week I took my son to his neurology appointment, and for the first time in a long while, he and I had some time to ourselves. Now, you might think that spending time together by getting an EEG would be pretty miserable for a two-year-old and his Mommy, but my son and I like to make things rock. So we did. Reading a little book about buses and watching “Sid the Science Kid,” my toddler enjoyed his EEG with such great behavior that the tech rummaged her entire office searching for not one, but two special (Thomas & Cars) stickers.
What was the best moment of the day for me? When we dropped off labwork, my son exclaimed, “Thank you!” completely unprompted to the tech as she took our things from us. Ummm… wait, I thought you had a communication disorder?
And that sort of sums up where I am right now with my son. He’s awesome and so full of joy.
I seem to get the impression from people that they expect children with autism to be so flat and disconnected from the world, and that is just not the case with our son. Even his neurologists were quite stunned by him because he DOES meet the criteria for autism, he DOES have something working very differently in his little brain, but he’s just so…. connected.
Lately, what has been especially impressive is our ability to prepare him for new and difficult sensory experiences. After reading about and looking at photos of the Franklin Institute, my son was able to genuinely enjoy himself at a crowded museum in a crowded city. Overrun with pushy, loud kids, my little dude got right into the hands-on action kicking soccer balls, exploring pulley systems and even investigating a huge train. In just two days spent with my younger cousins, he was able to connect to them in his own way, and established individualized relationships. This is just so remarkable for a little boy who has such difficulty making sense of the world around him… such difficulty processing his own movements… such difficulty communicating his wants and needs. And yet, such joy.
Such true happiness was experienced by him this weekend as he clambered up into a net of rope with his aunt and cousin that he even attempted the “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” a long lost skill which he often tantrums at the mere mention of ‘spider’ (wouldn’t you tantrum if you used to be able to do something and now your brain/body somehow can’t get it done?), with a smile.
So today I revel in the joy, the joy of my son, for his joy is mine, and it is ours, completely. I know things could get more complicated for us sooner than later (he has to have an MRI & our daughter starts her study this week), and even though I know all this ‘work’ is worth it, I refuse to let our family forget what is most important to us: the joy of this life.