By Brooke Twine
Parents of children with ASD often celebrate things that others find mundane. These are things that are typical of many children or things that just appear humdrum in day-to-day life. I am sure the first time these things happen most parents will cheer about it but for me, it is when non-frequent little things pop up between Mr. H and I, that I feel on top of the world.
One day I was sitting on the couch and Mr. H came walk out with a nappy in his hand. I looked at him, he looked at me and then he handed it to me. I had a look down his shorts and sure enough, he did a poo. I celebrated that nasty poo staring up at me from that little bum crack. My son had just communicated a need to me! I said “good boy” until my voice was hoarse and I high-fived him until we too exhausted to high-five anymore. Now that was a day I found joy in. What would be to some a seemingly small thing for me was a megalithic milestone.
Last week, I woke up and tottered around getting myself ready for work. The house was oddly quiet, Mr. H would normally have been having a personal party since the wee hours of the morning. I went into his room and he was sleeping soundly. Of course he can’t pull off the same feat on the weekend when a sleep-in for me would be perfect. I went to the kitchen to get his lunch ready and pack his school bag. I then snuck back into his room and his eyes were tightly shut, scrunched shut, not casually sleeping shut. He was pretending to be sleep; he was being a prankster! I snuggled up in the bed next to him and I heard a little giggle. He then snuggled into me a bit more, we both giggled and then had a merry old tickle. I did have tears in my eyes during the jokes and hugs, as this was a morning jackpot!
When Mr. H gets cranky, I don’t mean to giggle but sometimes I can’t help it, he can be such a stroppy little boy. Where I find the joy in those moments is that he is oh so clearly communicating his needs despite being non-verbal. My mother recounted a cranky episode to me. Mr. H had just stepped off the school bus (a lovely mini-bus that picks him up and drops him off at the front door). He stomped up to the outside chair, sat down and pouted while his Granny took his shoes off and emptied out half of the playground he had brought home with him. He then went inside, stomped his way up the stairs and had a lie down on HIS couch. His eyes became heavier and heavier. It was at that moment I called home from work. He jumped up at the sound of the ringing phone, made some very disgruntled outbursts, stormed off to his room, pulled the duvet over his face and went to sleep. Now that is communication.
It is the little things I find the most joy and the little things that I remember most clearly. It is in those moments I feel closest to him.
*Brooke Twine is the mum to a 7 year old who has Autism and a high school teacher, this equals busy, BUSY, BUSY!! Since his diagnosis at 2 and 4 months, they have been finding their voices together to ensure a positive, bright and beautiful future.