My wife and I have been blessed by having a son with autism. You might be wondering how that is a blessing, and I’m here to tell you that it has been a long yet rewarding road filled with lots of love and affection. The learning opportunities have been plenty, and I’ve found it funny the wisdom often manifesting at the most unusual times and ways.
Autism is just becoming mainstream, as the cases increase and there is no plausible explanation as to what is causing it. The spectrums are vast and diverse, making us appreciate how well our son, Scott, is doing. Every step he takes is a mile in our hearts.
To sum it all up, here are the lessons we’ve learned from our autistic son:
Resilience: I won’t give up, daddy.
Babies are some of the most resilient little beings. Our little one decided one day that crawling was no longer fun, so he chose a knee-height wine rack we had on the floor, which was a very interesting target.
No matter how many obstacles we placed in his way, our little man managed to beat us at our own game.
Scott used that wine rack, stood up, bobbed up and down in a triumphant way, just to realize he conquered Everest and decided to go back to his toys.
From that time on, we have never underestimated his resilience.
Joy is music.
As our little Scott grew older, he discovered The Wiggles, and it almost became a religion. He was two years old and the only word that would came out of his mouth was “Wiggles”.
When the music played, he started dancing and making sounds. It wasn’t quite singing, but it was beautiful to us to see that usual blank expression turning to a smile.
The madness of playing The Wiggles all day took a toll on my wife, but even she admits that she doesn’t regret it. Music gave Scott so much joy and us hope.
Patience: I can wait here quietly, daddy.
One mustn’t underestimate a child’s ability for patience. I had to go to an emergency appointment. My wife had taken baby Cohen with her, and Scott had no one to look after him. He sat at the doctor’s office quietly reading the children’s books they had. Once I was in with the specialist, he waited 45 minutes while I was being checked by the specialist.
I can still see his little face while he sat on a little stool knowing daddy was seeing the doctor and he did not protest once.
Kindness: I can share my toys with Cohen.
As the boys were growing up, the sharing of the toys was initially a friction point. Cohen wanted the world and Scott was finding it hard to share with his little brother.
One day, out of the blue, Scott started giving Cohen the most precious toys he had. Scott played with him and made sure he was happy. It was such a wonderful thing to see how the two, from that point on, became partners in crime.
Love: Daddy, can I give you a hug?
Scott’s ability to love has become very tender, as he politely comes up to me and says: “Daddy do you want a hug?” It is such an ice melting moment. In true daddy fashion, I would pick him up, swing him around, and we both burst out in a barrel of laughs. Cohen would then come up and say, “Do it to me; do it to me.” That kind of love is infectious; it gives me a warm glow in my heart as I type these words.
Humor: You look funny, daddy.
Now that both boys are school-aged, Scott has developed a wicked sense of humor. When his favorite show, The Annoying Orange, is on I can hear him laughing from the other end of our house.
His laughter is so contagious that I now sit down and watch it with him, It is a wonderful way to have a laugh and spend time with him.
He also comes up with songs and changes the words to say funny things about his little brother. Sometimes I can’t help it and laugh, even though I should stop him from picking on Cohen.
Autism has not been a barrier for Scott to become a fully-functional boy. His level of understanding has exceeded our expectations. If you have or know someone with an autistic child, give them your love and understanding.
These simple lessons can help you appreciate how beautifully different these little souls are.