Normal isn’t necessarily a good thing.

8 Aug

A brochure about explaining autism.  (http://www.handsinautism.org/pdf/IHAbrochure.pdf) I kind of wish I had this the other day.  My 10 yr old brought home his school bag and I found they did a “Me” exercise in class this week. He had written all sorts of things in the giant bubble letters of M and E.  Things like scary movies, legos, and action movies.  I saw on one of the lines of the letter E, he had written Special Needs.  I asked him if he wrote that himself and why he wrote that and he replied, “I don’t know what it is but I for sure know it is me.”  My heart broke.

We began having the talk about special needs, ADHD, autism and anxieties last year. Its a very hard concept for me to explain and he is a concrete learner. Things must be black and white for him to grasp a concept.  So I tried again.  I tried explaining that if you lined up 10 children from his class they all would be 5th graders and they all would be humans.  In that way, they were all the same.  I went on to say that those 10 children could all have different color hair or different color eyes. They could each have different height or weight.  I explained that those differences are visible and they help to make each person who they are.

I told him having special needs doesn’t make him any more or less than any of those 10 children.  I told him nobody can see his special needs, its inside of him.  It means that his Autism makes his brain work in a different way than most of those 10 children.  That sometimes he has trouble learning the same way they do or doing things the same way they do, but with just a little extra help (his special needs) he can go on to do amazing things JUST LIKE everyone else.  He will still be a 5th grader, he will still be human, like others in his class he will have brown hair and brown eyes, but like everyone else he will be unique.

Today was the first day I saw this brochure.  I encourage you to talk to your kids about their differences and the ways they are just like everyone else. We wanted him to feel “normal” by not talking about this at an early age.  Shame on us.  There is nothing wrong with deviating from the norm.  We have realized as he has grown how very wrong the opinion of trying to make him fit in our world is.  If nothing else, the world should be trying harder to fit our children.  They are our future, and they are great just the way they are.

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