Children With Special Needs Teach Us Not to Be In Such a Rush

little boy playing with carYou probably wouldn't guess it, if you knew him. If, by magic, I dumped you into a room with him, you'd be shocked to know it. In fact, you might argue with me if I told you.

My son is autistic.

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Each age we hit, with autism, comes with it's sets of challenges and advantages. I don't have to worry about my once non-verbal son learning to speak -- he never stops chattering away now that he's ten. I don't have to worry about over-stimulation -- he's managed to regulate that by himself.

That doesn't mean that there aren't frustrations -- there are. Plenty of them. They just change day-to-day and year-to year. Just like we all do.

Even I forget the kid has special needs -- I forget that my son, who once struggled to talk and communicate, lost inside his own head, isn't like the rest of us. Because generally, I find it to be a good thing. Being the same as everyone else doesn't have as many perks as being unique.

But it makes parenting him a special challenge.

He's not nearly as mature as others his age. Partially, it's due to being male and the youngest in his class, and partially it's because his social skills ARE stunted. The older he becomes, the more it concerns me. Not because it particularly bothers me, but because I know it will soon begin to affect him, as he heads into Junior High.

He gets locked into a specific plan of action, and should that plan change, he's inconsolable. Now, I'm as rigid as the next person. One look at my carefully managed blog archives will tell you that much. I like patterns, stability, and knowing what comes next. But I'm able to distance myself -- if I'm disappointed by, say, not seeing a friend on a given day, or having my routine alter in the slightest, I merely shake my head, wish it were different, and adapt.

He cannot.

It is the end of the world, each and every time whatever idea he had in his head about The Way Things Should Be (not often shared with us) does not work out. I wish I had a better solution, a more comfortable way of telling him that life changes every second, but he doesn't seem to understand.

But I remember, even as I feel stressed and saddened by my eldest son, that he's come so far. And while he has far to go, he will get there.

On his own time.

 

 

Image via Alexey Losevich/shutterstock

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