Saturday, September 11, 2010

WYSIWYG - autism at it's finest

I think they're playing...
Man, I love all 3 of my boys.  There are days, certainly, when you want to call the respite provider and see if he/she can pull off a full weekend of taking care of them, but each one of them is awesome in their own ways.  Special talents and skills, great perspectives, their own sense of humor, etc.  I can't imagine life without any of them.  You know the drill.  But sons #1 and #3 are at each other often like Robert Conrad in the old battery commecial saying "Go ahead, I dare you to knock that off."  Kid each other's chair in the car, touching each other's toys and generally 'poking the bear'.  It makes me wonder how my mom survived raising 5 boys with a girl on each end.  Yikes. 

One of the things I love about Mitchell (7 year old on the spectrum) is that he is the personification of what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG).  Isn't that what we all want in a friend, a spouse, or a work mate?  Granted, he has bad days just like you and me but he is often very predictable in his views, mindset, and focus.  His lack of interest in engaging with others at times often lends itself to him not making trouble.  One of his new sayings is "I just want to be alone." There are many situations where I find myself thinking "why can't you two behave like your brother".  I don't recall hearing in the autism community comments about our kids being models for social behavior.  How about that for a twist?

Mitchell at the waterpark - pure joy
Of course there are times when it tugs at your heart.  For example, I know that there is a good chance he'll give me a barely perceptible greeting when I return from a 3 day business trip and enter the house with excitement.  Luckily, those years of intensive therapy are paying off in that he'll reference off his brothers and if they come running and screaming "Daddy!" and give me a hug, he'll do the same.  Mimicry is a good thing to build a base of behavior.

I think we can all do better to offer our families, friends, and co-workers a predictable experience.  That's what builds connections.  I thank my lucky stars that he's go that down pat. 

Now we need to work on spontaneity...

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