“Do you have a disorder?” ………….This is probably the hardest question that I have been asked by my Autistic son?
It was hard as I knew deep within my heart where this question was going.
And so as I sat next to him I answered “Well actually I do!” “You see, I am sure I have OCD – obsessive compulsive disorder.” Although not having being diagnosed as such, I wanted my son to feel not so alone. and so I continued “You see I like my things to be just how i put them. At work I hate it when people don’t put my stapler back on my desk how they found it, or move my pen stand or punch etc. I have to immediately put them back exactly how i like them!” I could see he was listening intently and he said “Because I have a disorder!” and right away my heart felt as though it was going to shatter. “I said, oh, and what disorder do you have?” to which he replied “I have Autism”.
Wanting to reassure him about how much he is loved and to let him know exactly how I felt, our conversation continued as follows:- I said, “Yes, I know you have Autism. But do you know how many different levels there are? and do you know that you are on the very top level. I said just like you get mommys OCD being very minor, you get other people with very major OCD.
I proceeded to tell him all his strengths, his exceptional numerical ability, his exceptional spelling ability, his amazing memory retention, his artistic abilities. I am not half as good as you in these areas i said (especially the memory!!! as he often tells me Im like Dory).
So I said, I wouldn’t view YOUR autism as a disorder as such…. because YOU have got such special qualities, you are amazing in my eyes and through YOU I have learnt so much! I then said the only real difference in you to some other people is that you sometimes recite stuff and you walk up and down in the garden and sometimes whilst walking up and down you are reciting, or occasionally you have a bit of a meltdown. I said thats the only things really that people would view as being different. So its really not a biggy! ( And yes people out there its different not less!! )
And with that we had a massive hug, smile and kiss and I silently prayed that my reassurance had given him the courage to achieve whatever it is he wants to achieve in this lifetime. I still don’t know what prompted this question to me. I still don’t know if he overheard something being said about him by someone. But I am glad he was able to speak to me about it and I hope I eased any sad feelings he may have had.
So to all out there, be careful what you say in front of these kids – they are not stupid, in fact I believe they are way above our intelligence! They hear what is said even if they don’t respond or acknowledge right there and then. Rather treat everyone, whatever their disorder with the respect they deserve, as your kindness, love and understanding could possibly help them in reaching their goals instead of them thinking they cannot achieve.
Jordy – I have learnt so much from you, I have learnt patience, understanding, love that has no bounds, compassion, hard work, the true meaning of success, I couldn’t have asked for a better tour guide to take me along this journey – Thank you my angel, never give up, you will achieve greatness and we will show everyone who doubts this is possible. xxx