So many times, when it comes up that Brady is Autistic, people say, “I’m so sorry.” I know it’s just a saying and they really don’t know what to say, but YOU didn’t cause it, so why be sorry for it? I’m not sorry he has it. As many people say, “It is what it is.”
In some ways we are lucky, we’ve had two typically developing children and now with Brady and his delays, we also get to stop and enjoy his milestones that with previous kids we didn’t necessarily celebrate. There are many more things we, parents of ASD kids, get to experience than those of other children, here are my top five.
- Every milestone is a celebration! As I just stated, we get to go ga-ga over things other wouldn’t. When Brady took his first steps at age 26 months, I celebrated just as much as when my older boys did it at 14 months, but when Brady could walk in a straight line or somewhere with a purpose, it was an even bigger celebration. Many kids with hypotonia and motor coordination disorder have trouble, not only with walking, but running or even crawling. I dedicated an entire post and video when Brady could crawl and pull himself up. I suppose that’s not the best example as many parents celebrate those same milestones, but have you ever celebrated when your child could stand upright without orthotics? Or when he could sit and listen to an entire story without screaming? We celebrate mini-milestones just as big as those major ones.
- We see everyday things with a new light. Have you ever stop to watch a ceiling fan spin with your child? Or turn a car over to spin the wheels for hours? How about spinning in a chair or letting your child yank on your hair over and over (hey that kinda rhymes). Never in my life would I think the ceiling fan aisle in Lowes would be just as amazing to my child as Disney World was. I love watching him discover things, even if it’s the same things he “discovered” the day before.
- Therapy time for the kids is for us too. I remember the early days of Brady’s therapy. I was more excited to see the gals that helped him to walk and sign than he was most days. Adult interaction! Someone who understands my kid and me as well! Therapy isn’t a chore I have to do, it’s a great time to be able to chat with someone who can relate.
- Getting out of events we don’t want to do. You know that business dinner with your significant other’s boss? Try doing that with an Autistic kid who can’t sit still in a restauran. Not so fun right?! Never again do I have to meet up with people that we don’t want to. I can simply say, “Sorry, Brady doesn’t do well in that situation.” or “I just can’t find a sitter who can sign with him.” Problem solved!
- We have a built in “tribe”. You know how motorcyclists do that hand pointy thing when they pass another person on a bike? Or how owners of certain breeds of dogs have this unspoken bond? We have that too. We have a built in tribe of people to bounce ideas off of, ask questions, share our experiences. I never had that with my older boys.
Now, I’m not saying that parents of typically developing kids have it easy or that those who parent a child of special needs don’t have it rough. But sometimes those of us with special needs kids need to reminded that there is a reason it’s called “special needs”. Your kid is SPECIAL! He or she gets to do things other cannot. True, there are hard times, hard work and it’s hard explaining things over and over to others. But remember, you were given that special kid for a reason. And to me? Brady is the specialest kid I know.