Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Little Bit of Autism

The Mom Cave has a warm ray of sunshine streaming into it this morning. It is making me highly unproductive. Each time I bring myself to the computer, it lulls me back in the chair, and I close my eyes and just...BREATHE.

I might just give into it for a bit. My eight-year-old is frying my brain with weather reports. He received an iPad for his birthday a couple weeks ago. It's incredible, and he is downloading every weather applications he can find. Earthquakes in Hawaii. Hurricanes in Peru. Oh, and, by the way, that Tornado sighting in upstate New york? can disregard that. He accidentally reported that a little bit ago.

I need the quiet calm of this sun ray. Because, if I don't have my younger son shouting his endless chatter into one ear, I have his brother screaming in the other. Both boys urging for my attention. Both boys--I'll just say it--are being kind of annoying. Both boys have needs that require my help.

I need to quiet my brain for just a few minutes and digest the fact that I just had my first conversation with my younger son about the fact that he has autism. My heart is in my throat. I had been putting it off since learning about it a few months ago. Uuuuuggghhh. I just want it to go away. But, it isn't going away. And, his confidence is lying in the balance. He doesn't understand why he isn't fitting in with peers or why motor tasks are so difficult. He tells me that he just has "bad luck."

"Actually, you have a little bit of autism." was how I discussed it. "That's the reason you feel things don't go that way. It's the autism in you that makes it difficult for you to relate to other people. But, heck, we can teach you how to do that!"

He wasn't buying it yet.

"I want a doctor to come to me and cut out all the autism," he yelled.

"What would he cut?" I asked. "If he cut your heart, then I wouldn't have you to love. If he cut your brain, then you wouldn't be the smart little boy that I know. If he cut your lungs, you couldn't breathe."

He was listening.

"It is your little bit of autism that makes your brain remember a million facts about weather and The Titanic and Pokemon. It is your little bit of autism that leads you to create invention after invention. It's your little bit of autism that can help you do things far greater than I could ever dream of doing with my life."

I promised to go to the computer and show him famous people that have has a little bit of autism. He said okay.

Then, I had to say it. It was like the ten ton elephant in the room.

"You know that you are not

your brother," I said with a heavy heart. Our younger son looked at me. "Your brother has a whole lot of autism and quite a few other things on top of that."

We sat in silence. I was fearful of saying too little and too much all at once. I opted to leave the conversation alone after kissing him and telling him that I love him and am proud of him.

He licked my cheek (gross) and all was right for the time being.


  1. This hit home so much for me. My son, too, has a 'little bit of autism'. I remember having this conversation with him not so long ago. Trying to explain to him that the special school the school district wanted to send him to wasn't because he was a failure but because the school district was failing him by not having teachers qualified to deal with his need for routine, his anxieties and emotional outbursts.

    I honestly never thought to show him all the people that have autism that have done great things...that is an awesome idea and, if he's willing, it's an idea I'm going to steal :)

    My little guy has grown and matured so much since his diagnosis almost four years ago. He 'owns' his autism and is proud to be himself. This wasn't easy by any means and I'm sure we still have a long road ahead. I wish you and your family all the best in your journey :)

  2. Thank you, and I wish the same to you! Please let me know how it goes if you show him other people with autism who have gone to do great things. I'm interested in hearing how he takes it.

    I probably won't get to it this week--don't want to overload. Perhaps early next week we will do this, and I will report. Our son is a little inventor. I know there are others who have gone before him who carry the same qualities, and it would give him a boost of confidence for him to know this. Right now, he feels like an outcast. We need to boost that ego!