Every week, Katie shares the ongoing struggles and triumphs that often come with parenting a child with special needs. Today, she talks about the importance of having a sense of humor.
I've always believed that a wonderful sense of humor is one of the most important things to cling to in trying times, and autism is no different. Don't get me wrong; there's really nothing funny about autism, and there have been so many days -- especially those immediately following my son Brody's diagnosis -- when if someone had mentioned the "funny side of autism" to me, I might have punched them in the nose.
But now, a few years into this journey, I'd be glad to talk about the lighter side of autism with anyone who wants to listen, and that's why I was absolutely thrilled to find out about the book The Funny Side of Autism.
In the book, the author shares humorous tales of her children who are on the autism spectrum, and stories from many other parents around the country as well. I found myself chuckling while reading through the few story snippets featured on the website and it made me think about some of the cute, funny things that Brody does.
A few weeks ago, I was putting him into his bed and telling him that he had done a great job that day and asked him to give me a high-five. I planned to stick my hand out as soon as I was done laying him down but I didn't quite get there fast enough. He looked at me quizzically for a second -- like "Um where exactly am I supposed to high-five you?" -- and then just shrugged a little and high-fived me straight upside the head. Like the "You shoulda had a V8" smack, dead on the forehead. I died laughing.
It feels good to laugh -- and it feels even better to know that it is OKAY to laugh about a subject that is so often anything but funny. I wish I had this book around back when I was reading so many depressing autism books that I felt ready to give up on everything.
More than sharing this wonderful book with other moms of children with ASD, I want to share the message behind it. Although our children have unique challenges and needs, along with that usually comes a lot of laughter, and the subject of autism doesn't always need to be discussed as if someone was talking about a funeral. If my husband and I didn't laugh at the poo paintings, inappropriate stimming, and other endearing quirks that our son brings into our lives every day, we sometimes might cry instead.
It sure feels a lot better to laugh.
What funny moments have you had with your child or children on the autism spectrum?