For the last year plus, I’ve been practicing learning Spanish; my real interest, or effort, has been in the last 6 months.
While I’ve been learning, “Me llamo, Sarah,” my sister has been learning how to communicate with her third child, who just turned three. He’s always been “quirky”. When he does speak around me or Mr. Muse, it’s very softly, often only a single word and into the top of whatever surface is nearby. Otherwise is grunts and hand gestures. Recently, he was diagnosed with Autism. This didn’t surprise me, though, I knew it’d mean that the family would need to learn a new way of communication.
My nephew is an adorable child, but has always been a bit frustrating because we KNEW he knew what we were saying. His body language showed that he was listening intently to what we wanted or were telling him to do, but his reaction was something from out of left field. His brain just worked differently.
In my line of work, I know and read a lot about Autism and Autistic kids. The first thing I’d like to dispel is:
There is nothing wrong with them.
- Their brain just works differently.
I know deep down that my nephew is very smart. It’s only a matter of teaching my brain that I need to talk to him in a way that HIS brain says, “This makes total sense.”
So, when his “thank you” is a big grin, I say, “You’re welcome.” When he holds my hand, I’m just glad he trusts me enough to do so.
My sister and brother-in-law have their work cut out for them. My nephew has to sleep in the same room with them for now because he’ll get up in the night and run out the door and onto the road if he’s not stopped. He knows no danger.
And that’s a good reminder for those of us who deal with textbook “normal” every day. We never know what someone else is dealing with.
My nephew, he’s got a big support network behind him. People who won’t let him fall through the cracks. Others? They aren’t so lucky.
Let us all do at least a little bit to learn a new language every day. Whether it’s Spanish, Italian, or otherwise, let’s just do our parts.
Good quest Ms. Muse!
Thank you, Sir.
I was involved with a charity who looked after autistic kids a few years ago and it was fascinating and heart wrenching at the same time
Thanks, Peter. And yeah – I’m around it frequently through work. It’s going to be an interesting adventure for the family.
My daughter has a good friend with Autism. He is 23 and high functioning, that is another phase you’ll here in your new language. His parents, who were very young when he was born, opted for some non-traditional treatments such as diet and oxygen therapy. It was a long hard road, but they had an extended family to offer support.
It sounds like your nephew is surrounded by loving arms, which is half the battle.
Thank you, Lisa. It won’t be easy, but hopefully he can get into the Autism programs sooner rather than later.
Well said 🙂
Muchas gracias, mi amigo.
Just found this blog post. As a father of a 23 year old Autistic young man I really appreciate your attitude. My son has been looked on with everything from pity, to derision to “burn the monster”. I have been asked countless times “can’t you do something about him?” Do something? Like what? Cure him? Make him like you?? Ugh. Autism is like being picked up by aliens and dropped on a planet where you don’t know the customs, can’t speak the language, and indeed, can’t even understand why they are doing what they are doing. Nothing makes sense to you. It’s too noisy there, nothing feels right when you touch it, everything is just… not right. You are right, there is nothing wrong with them, their brains are just wired differently and it takes YEARS for their brains to rewire themselves. While that happens (IF it EVER happens) they need tons of understanding and love.
Porcupines are prickly, but even porcupines need love. Blessings on you kind lady.
I’m glad you found this blog and appreciate your comments. I confess to never really understanding much about autism other than what I saw on “Rain Man” up until a few years ago when I started working at my current job. I’ve learned a lot since then, and of course, having my eyes opened to the world of ASD makes me think of all the times I probably had encountered someone with it in public who was “acting out” but equated it to simply being badly behaved. I’m glad that I understand the difference now.