Lately, I’ve been sharing my son’s story in a two part post named “Trapped Within“. That was his story. This is mine.
When looking at the world through the eyes of my child, I see a world much different than my own. A world full of wonder and excitement. A world not polluted by peer pressure, current events, or bad influences.
My son, who is autistic, is not influenced by drugs, alcohol or any other typical temptations for a child his age. Even bullies, when they rarely come along, are often disappointed at the lack of response they get from him, as he smiles at them and carries on as if nothing has been said. He simply enjoys his peaceful world that has been created around him.
Children with this gift are too busy to focus on the negative aspects of life. They are consumed and intrigued by all the miraculous things around them, that we often take for granted. Why does a machine work that way? How are clouds formed and why? Where did that particular rain drop originate from?
An autistic child will not fake a smile, cannot fabricate laughter and most importantly their love is genuine and pure. My son does not pretend to be happy, nor does he smile at someone he does not know. The first time he said “I love you”, he was not prompted to do so and he did not feel obligated. Those precious words came straight from his heart, at a time he felt was appropriate and when he fully understood what those words meant. My son will not laugh at a joke simply to appease someone or out of fear of being left out. He does not pretend to be anyone else. He simply is, who he is.
Autistic children possess abilities and a freedom that many of us can only dream of. Too often we are afraid to be the real us. We are concerned about being rejected or judged by those around us. Our inhibitions cause us to lose out on many wonderful opportunities in life. We laugh when we don’t understand. We say yes, when we want to say no. In a sense, we are imprisoned within ourselves. Children with autism however, are free from these boundaries.
When we look at autistic children, we often feel sympathy for them. But, on the contrary, I believe that if they were to compare their life with ours, they would most likely feel sympathy for us.
As parents, we always want what is best for our children. We want them to succeed in everything they do. On the onset of their arrival, we are already anticipating their graduation, wedding day and even our first grandchild. These milestones are all wonderful and rightfully justified. But, as many people can testify, this is not always what is planned for our child’s life.
We should reconsider before looking at autistic children under the preconceived notion that they are somehow missing out on life. Simply because their life may not run it’s course the same as you and I, it is full of many other outstanding achievements, that we so often miss out on. Their happiness, their love, their laughter, even their pain, are all genuine. How often can we say that about our own life?
Although at times, an autistic child’s world may appear to be light years away, I believe in reality, it is actually much closer than our own.