I listened quietly as she struggled to express herself.
I understood her pain.
Several conversations with other mothers flashed before my eyes.
“Why does he pace up and down like this? He’s not even aware of what he’s doing?”
“Why doesn’t he stop talking about airplanes? I’ve told him I’m not interested.”
“Why does he rock back and forth to music? He gets hyper active and over excited when he does that.”
We are uncomfortable because these things are not the norm.
Anything out of the ordinary makes us feel queasy.
I’m certainly not going to tell you to stop feeling how you’re feeling.
Feel what you’re feeling. In fact, stay with the feeling for a while.
Once you’re done- ask yourself these 3 questions.
1. Do I truly accept my child?
Acceptance cannot be partial. We can’t say I accept this part- but not this part.
Your child is a living, breathing human being. He is who he is.
Do you accept him fully?
Do not be ashamed of your child.
The mannerisms projected by the person inhabiting an autistic shell may readily mimic what some label an inferior way of being. While the neurology of one’s brain may be compromised, resulting in brain- body disconnects and motor- control misfires, this does not refute the inner will of one’s mind and Spirit. When we say of the person with autism, “When I look into his eyes, I can tell someone’s in there, “ it’s because there is someone in there- a vibrant, intelligent human being! Why would anyone choose to adopt a different position?
– William Stillman, Autism and the God Connection
Note: This is stated by an autistic individual- a doctor at that!
2. Do I care too much about what people think?
We all care about how we’re viewed by others. After all, man is a social animal.
But are we giving this more importance than is due?
Your relationship with your child is the most important.
Focus on that.
Everything else is fleeting. Let it go.
It’s not important.
A corollary to this is – stop speaking about him in his presence, as if he doesn’t exist.
It’s easy to slip into the mode of forgetting about this important fact.
Practice being mindful. Over time you will remember.
And don’t forget to inform teachers, helpers, care givers about this very important point too.
Your child is in your life for a reason.
The universe doesn’t make mistakes.
It’s up to you to reach out and embrace this beautiful being in your life.
The one assurance I can give you is: It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
You will get much more than you expect.
Your autistic child will make you a better human being.
Kamini Lakhani is the founder and director of SAI Connections. She has been providing services in the field of autism for more than 25 years and is the authorized director of Professional Training for RDI in India and the Middle East. She is also the mother of a young adult with autism.