April is Autism Awareness Month
Too often I believe parents are scared of the diagnosis. When Logan was diagnosed it was because I was determined to have someone help me learn how to parent my child. The diagnosis gave me the ability to understand autism and it opened a window into my child's mind.
I have learned so much about the human spirit by being Logan's mom. I believe that my heart has gotten bigger and my level of kindness and tolerance has doubled. It's hard not to. Logan isn't equipped with filters. He is honest about everything, the concept of lying or telling "little white lies" is lost on him. He says what he thinks. I am learning authenticity from him. When he hugs you or tells you that he loves you it isn't because it's out of habit or because he knows it will make you feel better. It's genuine. It's honest. It's his truth.
If you've ever talked to a child on the spectrum about something that interests them, it's as if they know everything about it. And they do. When Logan finds a new interest he dives head first into it and seems to not come up for air for quite a while. We live and breathe that topic for weeks, sometimes months. He's had quite a few phases, butterflies, superheros (and still is) but I believe it started with trains. This was one of my first "ah-ha" moments of realizing that Logan was different from his peers. While the other little boys were just as fascinated with Thomas the Train, Logan's fascination reached a deeper level. He only wanted to read books about trains, he had every Thomas episode memorized word for word and would reenact them on his train table with his actual trains. Now if you give Logan the information in a way that his brain can understand he digests the knowledge at rapid speed. My mom bought him a plastic human body,a toy that you can dissect, possibly the coolest Christmas gift to date and Logan is completely engrossed in learning about the human body. We talk at length about bones and how food travels through our bodies. How brains work and here is the big one...how HIS brain works. He's becoming more and more aware of his differences as he gets older. And it's quite remarkable the adjustments he is making in order to live in this non-autistic world. Noise is a huge issue for him and for a while he would wear earmuffs, even in July at 100 degrees, if the noise was more than he could tolerate. Now instead of earmuffs he has decided that having long hair filters out the noise. It's amazing to me that he can tell the difference in his hearing from short hair to long hair. Think about that for a second. As a woman who's had long hair I honestly can't tell you that I noticed the difference in sound on days I wore a ponytail and on days when I didn't. The long hair I think is here to stay for awhile, he's using it to help him navigate his day to day. We were going through pictures and came across one of a horse and carriage in NYC and Logan was fascinated with the gear the horse was wearing. I explained to him why the horse has blinders on and he almost immediately made the connection of his hair in his face and how that is like blinders for him. Remarkable huh?
I'm not going to lie...I believe it's harder at times to parent a child on the spectrum than a nuero-typical child, I have both so I feel free to say that. But having a child on the spectrum in your life opens your eyes to all that you have been missing, or never took the time to notice. Logan has helped me grow as a person and I am so forever thankful to be his mommy.
Different can be pretty remarkable if you just take the time to understand it.