He’s a Person Too

kid

My son may not talk like others. He may not behave as people would expect. He may appear distant and uninterested. He may even seem content in the world in which his mind resides, without need of companionship or conversation.

But regardless of what is seen on the outside, there is a real human boy on the inside. A boy who feels hurt, disappointment and loneliness. A boy who desires friendship and love. A boy who has goals and dreams for his future.

A boy who people (adults included) see, but rarely talk to.

What they see, is a boy who doesn’t care for interaction. When they speak to him, they see an ’empty’ stare and assume that their words are not understood. Those same words that they also feel go unheard and cause them to question why they even took the time. Only a few wait around for the response, which although delayed, will come…but they’ll never know that.

“That was a waste of time,” they think as they walk away.

What they see however, is very different than what I see.

I see his eyes brighten up when they speak to him and the thoughts racing through his mind as he searches for a way to respond. I see the smile that spreads across his face as they walk away. A smile caused by the simple act of their interaction with him.

After they’re gone, I hear him talk about what they said. I hear him giggle for minutes, sometimes even hours, as memories of their words come back to him. The excitement from a simple “hello” stays with him well after it is spoken.

But, it’s not only his happiness that I hear. I also hear his disappointments, concerns and sadness.

I see the hurt in his eyes when people walk past him without acknowledging his presence. I see his loneliness as he watches everyone have conversations on the opposite side of the room. I see the confusion on his face when people are gathered to do an activity, but no one invites him to come along.

I see his head lower in sadness, when everyone walks away.

“Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

That same love, kindness and respect that you desire from others  – people who are ‘different’ desire and need that too.

Take it from me, a mother of a teenage son with Autism, even a simple “hello” has a much bigger impact than you could possibly imagine.

Thank you to everyone who has ever taken even a moment to talk to or get to know someone who is ‘different’ than them. Thank you to everyone who has ever made a statement similar to the one that inspired this post…

“He’s a good kid. He kind of needs a friend.”

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33 Responses to He’s a Person Too

  1. Lorraine says:

    I hope the kids at school talk to him more.. How can you solve this problem? An assembly about Autism?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. koolaidmoms says:

    Our school set up a lunch bunch for a few middles schoolers who were all similar and they had lunch with the social worker 2-3 times a month to sit and talk to each other. Just about stuff they liked and they were learning how to take turns in conversation, body language, social cues for speaking. It has been wonderful for my son but he still has no friends. None. It is heartbreaking at times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mewhoami says:

      That sounds like the same road we’ve been down for years now. Those groups are great and teach the children a lot, and although it may work for some, it certainly doesn’t work for all. Unfortunately, for my son, it’s not just his peers who ignore him. Most adults do too. I’m sorry that your son has no friends either. It is heartbreaking.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. aviets says:

    Nothing hurts as much as seeing our babies hurt. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Friends are necessary for a young man in his age. Does he have any special interest, as mostly with autism have? Could it be possible to look for others, maybe online, with same interest? Just an idea, remember this was not easy in a part of my sons life too.
    Send him my greeting 🙂

    Like

    • mewhoami says:

      They sure are. He has a boy at school who he shares interests with, but their schedules conflict a bit too much for them to spend any real time together. Aside from him, most of the people who we’ve met with common interests, can’t relate to him and don’t take the time to get to know him. Because they don’t understand him, they practically have to be ordered by others to let him be a part. It’s frustrating.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, another with an equal mind will also be the best choice for him, because they understand each other. Have you tried to search online either by Google or Facebook? There could easily be several with mutual interest in your area.
        I made appointments with parents about spending a weekend day or so either in my house or theirs, so this changed and the parents can all have a more relaxed day, when they know that their kid or young are in good and safe company.
        I used this time to learn my son about how to behave and say thank you to the hosting parents. If he was invited also for food, we bought a flower for him to bring as a thank you gift. No one ever complained 🙂

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        • mewhoami says:

          That’s a wonderful idea about taking that opportunity to teach your son about gratefulness and how to behave around others. My son is often around other people and generally is very polite, saying ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’, when appropriate. But, the conversation piece is still greatly missing. A lot of that is his own doing because of his delays, but a good portion is those around him who don’t take the time to even try. He’ll have a conversation – he just needs someone to initiate it and be willing to wait for his responses. That’s the hard part. I’ll try looking up others with similar interests via the internet. Who knows – maybe his ideal friend is out there. Thank you!

          Like

  5. amommasview says:

    That makes me sad. He deserves a chance to go along too. It will need that one kid who makes the first step and invites him along… I hope he will meet that kid soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We have a man who has (unknown to us) a developmental disorder. He doesn’t ever want to interact with me, but has a great time talking to the men in the warehouse. I get the feeling the women in his life have been the ‘bosses’ so he is a bit afraid of me. It’s kind of sad, but I always say hello to him when he comes in to work.
    I was also the kid with no friends, but back in the 70’s, autism wasn’t recognised. I would have been his friend, then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mewhoami says:

      It’s wonderful to hear that you still make an effort to interact with him although he’s a bit standoffish. People need the interaction, regardless. Who knows, maybe you’re the one person who makes his heart smile – but he just doesn’t know how to show it. I didn’t have many friends either, but it was purely my choice. A couple of good friends is much better than a lot of fake ones.

      Like

  7. George says:

    Great post. We shouldn’t have to be reminded of this but unfortunately in a society of instant gratification and impatience, we don’t always take the time to treat people with respect and consideration.

    Like

    • mewhoami says:

      Thanks George. You are right – we shouldn’t, but it’s hard for people to get out of the comfort zone and to approach someone who is unlike them. I understand that, but I sure am grateful for the few who do.

      Like

  8. Very nice post! It is an important post to remind all of us! We get too involved in our lives and don’t think about others and we should also teach our own children to care!

    Like

    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you, Lynz. You make a good point. It’s so easy to get caught up in our lives and forget that there are others in our path who made need us – even if that means that all they need is a simple ‘hello’.

      Like

  9. Keep teaching us MWAI. We all need to know/hear/understand this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. reocochran says:

    My son has always had a big heart for those who were different. It always blessed him far more than those he befriended, I thought. I am happy to know, from your own experience of having a son who may not draw people to him as much as to others. That his reaching out has helped. One young man was large and had a temper. He used a book bag to hit my son who liked to debate things, over the head! Teachers saw blood trickling down his face and we ended up at the emergency room with him needing stitches. Because it looked like an “assault” police came. They asked him why he didn’t push back or throw his own book bag at the boy? My son simply answered, “Because he didn’t know better.” They remain friends and Jamie was invited on vacations because when he wasn’t debating points; he was engaging the boy in lively conversations. His parents run into me in town and say after Jamie, my son, got married to a single mom, he put “distance” from this young man. I explained how busy their lives are now. (They have also added 3 of their “together” children to her 2 older children) the parents said my son had been his “only true friend,” never using him to get money or making him pay for things like beer, cigarettes or pizza. How horrible the others sound and I mentioned how we like to take the children (my grandies) to the Creative Foundations where people with disabilities do crafts, build things and some work for Habitat for Humanity. Their son Zach could help others and feel worthy, making friends along the way. Hope they think about this. Jamie invites this young man over for barbecues but probably not consistently enough to be a real friend anymore. Thanks for this post and hope you don’t mind such a long response! 🙂

    Like

    • mewhoami says:

      Don’t mind the long response at all. I enjoyed reading about your son befriended the other boy. It’s neat how you said that he thought it was mainly benefiting him, but had no idea how much good it was doing for the other boy. Sometimes they (as in my son’s case) don’t know how to express their gratitude for friendship or even express on their face how much it means to them, but it does – a lot. My son loves interaction, but only a handful of people (at most) know that. Thank you to your son for showing kindness and friendship to someone who is different. We need more people like him. I also like the idea of Creative Foundations. My son is involved in a lot of social groups through his school, but since he loves to build things this might be a great idea for him. Thank you for commenting and for your suggestions – even if they weren’t exactly meant for me 🙂

      Like

  11. dvaal says:

    If I am ever lucky enough to walk past him, I will make sure I stop, speak and wait for his response. Thank you so much for sharing this. we need to know to stop and wait -this something that never occurred to me.
    http://www.fiddledeedeebooks.wordpress.com

    Like

    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you for that! That would be wonderful, and if not him, then maybe someone else. Everyone needs a friendly ‘hello’. What my son has taught me is that even though he is slow to respond most of the time, it doesn’t mean he’s not interested. It simply means that he’s still thinking about how to respond; which words to use. When given the chance, he’s full of all kinds of information and he has a great sense of humor. I only wish that more people would take the time to see that.

      Liked by 1 person

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