Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all
And sweetest is the gale is heard; and sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm...
~Emily Dickinson

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

This day is confusing to me.
On one hand I really want to celebrate it and find peace within the thought of it all...and then on the other hand I want to climb into my bed and sleep through it.

I never loved that there was a day invented to celebrate dads...and moms.
I always thought it should be done every day on some level or another.
However, it does give some people the chance to redeem their emotional negligence due to busy lives, excuses, etc...

This day makes me miss my dad.
I miss his voice, I miss his counsel, I miss the way he could make me smile from the inside out.
I miss that he isn't here to see my babies grow up, that he will never be called grandpa...
I miss having him here to ground me...we all need people in our lives to feel grounded.
I miss that there is one less person in my life that would truly love Kannon and all his sufferings...

I wonder if Kannon will ever be a dad:)
He would be fabulous.
So much love, so much light to his soul...so much he could teach a soul through his life lessons.

I sat in the driveway this afternoon with tears in my eyes pondering all of this...
I was watching Kannon sit in his red wagon talking to himself and making a makeshift sword out of two sticks and a plastic bag...ingenious, truly it was.
Then as if my dad could hear my prayers and thoughts the wagon all of sudden slowly started to move forward...slowly...inching to the point of the top of the driveway where it starts to slope down. Kannon just sat there and looked back at me as if I was somehow doing this from 10 feet away...
I just sat there, there was no obvious danger...if Kannon did go flying down the driveway he would be fine...really he would.

All of this happened in slow motion to me like some unseen hand of faith nudging that wagon inch by inch...then there went Kannon down the driveway...he ran into the cable box. He was smiling the whole short ride down the driveway...it was beautiful to see his face light up.
Then what came out of his mouth made everything great, it made this somewhat crappy day peaceful...it made me remember how great life can be if you let it.

Clear as day Kannon belted those two lovely words out...he even made serious eye contact with me and repeated it to make sure I heard him.

Ahhh, my heart was smiling again...my boy never ceases to amaze me and lighten my days.

Happy Fathers Day Dad, wherever you are...
and to all you out there who are blessed with little ones that change your life every moment.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Every day I notice more and more the publicity and attention that Autism is receiving.
More people are interested in the disorder and what it is all about...

I find the general consensus is that people are baffled by it.

They don't understand it and cannot wrap their heads or hearts around it all.

I have been asked many times "If I am around an Autistic child, how should I talk to them?"

Or, "should I try to talk to them at all?"

It's a great question, and I don't have the definite answer, but this my my personal advice...

I know as a parent of an Autistic child the one thing I want more than anything for Kannon is for him to be accepted. For him to have friends someday and to be liked by his peers.

That being said, I love when people extend themselves to Kannon.

They obviously know something is "off" with him due to his lack of language and physical ticks, so the fact that they have a big enough heart to overlook that and reach out to him is fabulous.

I would recommend talking to the child as if you were talking to ANY child.

No dumbing it down, no change of tone or pace...

If the child doesn't respond, which they probably won't, then just act as if it were a normal occurrence...no big deal.
Tell them how much you like their smile, their shirt...etc.
Then move on with your day.

Bottom line, talk TO them....not AT them.

Whether they make eye contact or not, they are listening.

In fact these kids are more in tune to other peoples emotions and actions MORE than most normal children.

They are very sensitive and in tune, unfortunately their bodies don't allow them to give out the normal physical cues one would expect from a child reacting to communication or attention.

Also, the parent of the Autistic child will most likely intervene on their child's behalf before you can even expect a reaction from the child.
I have seen some parents act very defensive and abrupt to people, and I get it...it is a defense mechanism developed out of the lack of public knowledge of the disorder. Don't take it personally if you get this reaction...no biggie.

Sometimes depending on the level of acceptance on the parents behalf the parent will react in a quick manner. They may remove the child and walk away, or they may just smile and brush the interaction off as it it never happened. OR they may inform you of the child's "condition" and at that point you may choose to engage the parent in small conversation or not.
Some parents enjoy educating people on their child, and you can ALWAYS use me as an "in".
Tell them you have a friend whose child has Autism, how interesting it has been to follow her adventures with the disorder, etc...etc...you can even give them the link to this blog if they ever need a good smile :)

Whatever reaction you receive, it is wonderful that you even tried to extend yourself to a family who is dealing with Autism.
It is a very isolating disease at times, and bottom line is that we are ALL human.
We all want to be accepted, loved, and to feel emotions through the kindness of others spirits and generosity.