Who You Want Him To Be

You want him to be autistic but just enough that he can sit still and listen like the rest of his peers. But, his listening will never look like everyone else’s. It will likely always include doodling, looking away and humming to himself. I know it looks like he’s not listening, but if you ask him to tell you what you’ve said, he can.

You want him to be autistic but just enough that he can still remember all the required tasks for the day, and you want him to be autistic but just enough that he can keep track of eleventy million pieces of paper. His recall will always be different than his typical peers. He will likely always need constant reminders of what to do when. I envision him at his desk when he’s come in from field work (he’s totally going to be a paleozoologist) with post it notes scattered everywhere reminding him where to be and when, and papers stacked to and fro looking like a fire hazard. I see a well trained assistant reminding him he’s late for a lecture…again and here are the papers you need.

You want him to be autistic but just enough that his stimms aren’t disruptive. On his own, he’s kind of figuring out which stimms are socially appropriate, and he holds in the ones that are not. We’ve not asked him to do this, that shows he’s aware more now than ever how he looks to others. But sometimes, a boy needs to spin, to line things up to make order out of a world that is so disorderly.

You want him to be autistic but just enough that he is still flexible in his ideas and thinking and interactions. You forget that the singular line of thinking for people like him is often what makes them successful later in life. How many great ideas and discoveries only happened because someone wouldn’t, no couldn’t, give in on their idea? 

You want him to be autistic but just enough that he doesn’t have meltdowns when his typical peers can handle the situation just fine. It’s hard to see him out of control, crying and hiding unable to process what you’re telling him. 

Ultimately, you want him to be autistic but just enough that he doesn’t make you question your ability as a parent, a teacher, a brother, a person of authority. But this isn’t reality. He is autistic, his brain is different, and that’s okay. 

  

 

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5 thoughts on “Who You Want Him To Be

  1. ALL THE TIME I am telling my son’s teachers they are expecting a child with autism and ADHD to be neurotypical, and he just can’t. I find it quite maddening. It only takes a day or two for them to fall right back into that pattern (which makes my son’s behavior and academic performance worse, not better).

    Penny Williams
    Author of “The Insider’s Guide to ADHD,” “What to Expect When Parenting Children with ADHD,” and “Boy Without Instructions”
    Parent of 2e teen with ADHD, autism, and LDs
    ParentingADHDandAutism.com

    Like

  2. Autism is an incredibly difficult phenomena…it feels explosively new and honestly we just don’t know a lot about the spectrum. I don’t have autistic kids…I do have two nephews who have autistic symptoms that interfere with their ability to do some things. It is difficult and my heart swells and bleeds for their parents, swells with pride and joy as I know the love a parent has for their child, bleeds because parents of autistic children work incredibly hard, sacrifice more than anyone will know and love in ways that others can only imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Ultimately, you want him to be autistic but just enough that he doesn’t make you question your ability as a parent, a teacher, a brother, a person of authority. But this isn’t reality. He is autistic, his brain is different, and that’s okay. ”

    YES! This post reminded me of one of my parenting mantras: “It’s not their job to figure out how to be lovable. It’s my job to figure out how to love them – even when they’re not.”

    Lovely post.

    Like

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