Archive for April, 2012

Instantaneous McDonald’s support group

One day during my kids’ spring break, my daughter and I went to Meadowbrooke Gourds.  (I’m letting you know this because it is an awesome place and I want all of you to know about it.)On our way home, we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch.

As we were eating I noticed that people were watching this man who was not “normal” and acting a little wierd.

I looked over.  It was a young man who was obviously on the autism spectrum.  He was verbalizing, flapping, pacing… funny, I hadn’t even noticed until I realized that other people were staring.

Funny what I get used to, I guess.

I said something to my daughter, and she looked over.  We agreed that the man had autism.  I started watching him, not out of “rudeness” but out of concern.  I suppose my mom instincts kicked in.

A woman in line called to the man and instructed him not to beat on his chest.  He stopped.  I knew he was not alone, so my daughter and I went back to our lunch.

As we were leaving the restaurant, I stopped by the man’s table.  Turned out he was  22 and was out with his grandmother.  I explained to his grandmother that I had been watching him out of concern due to my being a mom of two boys on the spectrum.

She gave me a big hug.  She said, “We all have to stick together!”  We talked for a few minutes until the man decided to walk out of the McDonald’s on his own (typical… for us, at least!).   She ran after him and my daughter and I went out to our van.

We were buckling our seatbelts and I heard a honk.  As the grandmother was driving away, she had looked for me and honked in support when she saw my autism awareness sticker.  I waved and noticed that she had a sticker, too.

I really hope I see her again.  Our walk for autism is coming up on April 14th.  Since she’s in the area, maybe she’ll be there.

I was grateful for our encounter.  I have hope, because the young man reminded me of my own son.  May we all experience love and support in the unlikeliest places.

My son’s point of view: autism doesn’t make him different

My son and I had our first conversation about autism.

“You know you have autism?”

“Mmm hmm.”

“What does that mean?”

He thought for a while.

“I don’t know.  I don’t know what it means.”

I thought about that for a few minutes.  How could he know what that means?  It is just… well… him.  His thinking… his culture… his way of being…

I said, “Well, I think that autism means that you think differently.  Your brain is wired differently than mine.”

Inside I was wrestling… isn’t everyone wired differently?  I think so.  Is it important that he knows he has autism?  Well, yes.  But why?

I asked him, “Do you think your autism makes you different or the same as other kids?”

“I am the same as everybody else.”  Hooray!

Pause.

“But Miss J.  (his TSS) wants me to be different.”

“How so?”

Pause.

“Oh, just forget it.  Give her a call and find out.”

Miss J. helps him follow the rules at school.  He probably wants to be like the other kids and not follow the rules.  Maybe.  I don’t know.

I do know that his autism does make him “different.”  I love the old Arby’s slogan, “Different is good.”  It will be interesting to see how he develops in the coming years.