Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Yesterday was World Autism Awareness Day ... or something like that. It was kind of cool to see Facebook and Twitter light up with blue puzzle pieces and stories of exceptional people, thriving though on The Spectrum. Hearing all those success stories made me a little nostalgic and I started thinking about the journey we've been on with our kids; this crazy ride called Autism.

I have written before about how chaotic and stressful our life was during those early years of Autism and how much Dude has grown and matured but it still amazes me. I am in awe of how much he's learned and how independent he is getting. We hear often from his team at the school about how good he is at speaking up for himself and communicating his needs. The strategies we have spent years teaching him are becoming second nature to him.

We are also seeing how his Asperger focus is enabling him to excel in certain areas of his life. His obsession with Lego and building is turning into a real skill of understanding balance, perspective and basic engineering principles as he constructions towers, buildings and structures in our basement. Even his sensory sensitivity, which was once a huge obstacle to every day living, has steered him towards activities that he he seems to have a natural ability in, like swimming, curling and drumming. His love for science drives him to discover how our planet works, how things like light and sound travel and how the ocean affects all life. His mind is an amazing thing.

What I also find amazing is the friends that are emerging in his life. Making friends has always been a bit of a rocky road but recently there have been these wonderful, open minded and accepting kids who have welcomed Dude as one of their own. They accept his quirks, try to guide him through some of his awkwardness and understand his 'rudeness' is just the truth as he sees it. They praise his talents and engage him in conversation about his interests. They also have taught him that he needs to be a friend if he wants to have a friend, so he asks about them and gets excited for their successes.

When I look at my beautiful twelve year old boy I am aware that we have come a long way. I am also aware that we still have a fair stretch to go. I am aware that people are amazing and that Asperger's doesn't have to limiting, it can be a gift.

Here's a video about an extremely talented surfer who found his normal on top of the waves ...

"I see people with Asperger's syndrome as a bright thread in the rich tapestry of life"
- Tony Attwood.

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