Above is a picture that Jr drew last week.
Keep in mind Jr’s currently seven years old. He’ll be eight in May.
This picture is of him in Georgia, at age 16 I believe he said at his college dorm.
He said he wants to go to college.
Jr clearly understood the things I’ve taught him the last four years. Since his diagnosis of Autism in 2010, I’ve educated him on his diagnosis, as well as mine and what they entail.
I explained to Jr my motto I created: “Autism isn’t a disability, it’s the ability to see and experience the world differently!”
I’ve taught him to live based on that motto. It’s helped to establish and maintain his self esteem.
It’s helped him overcome rejection from family, friends and even strangers he’s been taken back by.
Jr is hopeful and confident that he’ll lead as normal as a life as the next person.
I’ve taught him that people with “Special needs” receive special treatment and accommodations, so going to college, starting his own business, having a long-term relationship etc are attainable goals.
Having Special needs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your best. We always talk about ways to “maximize on your full potential” versus allowing minor setbacks to become permanent downfalls!
I’ve taught him his father and I love him deeply, not unconditionally but with expectations. Unconditionally loving anyone is borderline enabling if not completely enabling. With expectations mean we expect “nothing less than his best” whether he fails to accomplish what he set’s out to do, we expect him to “at least try” his best always in everything!
We allow Jr to be himself while teaching him how to control certain behaviors that could be problematic in the future especially going into his adolescents and adulthood.
Meaning for example the “superhero sounds” that he mimics from TV etc we’ve had to teach him to control not only thinking about it when it’s inappropriate like during instruction time at school, during church service, any situation that requires his undivided attention.
Jr has and is doing well with “suppressing” certain thoughts or behaviors until he’s home or in a “comfort zone” where he’s free to express himself.
Jr can now focus with little to no redirection. His short and long memory need work on being expanded so he can remember accurately, more information in details.
He remembers things he fixates on. He remembers toys, cartoons, movies he’s had/seen or would like to have/see.
Things or information he does find useful or exciting, he doesn’t store.
So pictures like these and conversations that elaborate on pictures like these or his subconscious thoughts are always great and humbly received.
I know it takes a lot for Jr to “openly” express himself beyond self soothing (mimicing the superhero voices actions etc) especially once he’s home in his comfort zone.
He usually wants to just unwind because he’s been “stiff” all day from controlling himself in school.
I urge you to listen to your children especially when they aren’t speaking.
Allow them to express their thoughts to you, don’t try and anticipate their thoughts or alter what they’ve said. Leave it be verbatim.
Once they’ve finished explaining then only attempt to help them “make sense of their incorrect statements etc” but try not to change the meaning.
Meaning I told Jr after he explained his picture that most children go to college at eighteen, it’s rare children go earlier. The children who do go earlier than eighteen are called “wiz kids or geniuses!”
He understood because he replied: “Mommy you mean like baby geniuses but adults now!” I said yes Jr exactly.
I’m happy and blessed for the progress Jr’s made these past four years come this August.
I’m excited to see what more he has to offer and will accomplish in the future.
Find what works for and with your child and hone in on it and use it to assist them in maximizing their full potential especially in regards to opening up and letting us into their world.
Their minds are a world all their own.
Recite my motto daily and soon you’ll be living by it.
“Autism isn’t a Disability, it’s the ability to see and experience the world differently!”
I love you all, keep pushing; the best is yet to come!