Thursday, October 20, 2011

Panic and the Pediatrician

I am not quite sure who dislikes going to the pediatrician's office more - myself or my daughter. Yesterday's visit was so lovely. Not! It, (the screaming) began even before we arrived. She figured out that was our destination at least a few miles away, as we made "that" left turn. For those of you that do not have children with autism, let me explain.

While our kids with autism seem "tuned out" to much of our environment, at the same time they are highly "tuned in" to other aspects of our environment. Many of you have observed children with autism covering their ears when they hear certain sounds. Mia dislikes the sound of a vacuum cleaner, so much so, that as we were passing the vacuum cleaners in the aisle at Target the other day, she yelled and covered her ears. If she had not begun to yell, I would have had no idea we were even walking past vacuums. They were not turned on, but her fear is so intense the mere sight of one triggered that reaction.

Now let me get back to the fun we had at the pediatrician's office. Ofcourse there was much crying. And, ofcourse, there were many "gawkers" both old and young. I am used to this, and I have made a habit of blocking out the staring and making her my sole focus. Yesterday she relaxed as soon as I got out the trusty ITouch and "Dora" once again saved the day. 

While in the waiting room I noticed two young brothers watching her intensely. They cocked their heads in unison, attempted to gain her attention, and smiled at her. Their empathy was apparent, and all I could think is how beautiful it was to see, and how I hoped they were able to retain it as they aged. The adults pretended not to notice. I was appreciative because I much prefer this response to one that involves lots of staring, or my least favorite, a completely blank stare. If you are going to make eye contact remember your eyes convey how you feel. By all means give that struggling momma a smile. I do so every occassion I am given.

We managed to make it out of there in one piece again. It is starting to get easier as she ages. She is slowing realizing that while it might not be her favorite place (or mine!) she can get through it. We walked out the door as she said, "Bye byes home?" I smiled at her and drove to Wendy's for our rewards. She had chicken nuggets and I got a big Frosty Float! Until  next time...

Thursday, October 6, 2011


It is not often that I am lucky enough to capture such a nice image of my sons together. You know how it goes, one is either blinking, looking wild eyed crazy, totally disengaged, etc. So let's just say I celebrated this one quite a bit yesterday after I captured it. And yes, quickly after it's capture, there it was proudly displayed as my facebook profile pic.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is so true. When I look at this picture a million things come to mind. At first glance, I simply see two brothers dressed and ready to go to school. But upon further inspection, and lots of reflection, I see so much more.

I see two brothers who may be dressed alike, but who are vastly different.  Big brother Ethan, our usually easy-going, nonverbal, lovable boy with severe autism. Little brother Nick, who functions as a big brother, our outgoing, sports loving, and sensitive guy.

Even though I work hard at developing connections, or shared interests between them, there really are none. Without a doubt it is hard and it always will be. Nicholas has long since gotten over the fact that Ethan cannot "play" with him in the typical sense. This is all Nick has ever known, but I suspect deep down in that sensitive soul of his, is where it resides. Surely I will hear about it one day when he is ready and able.

 I have always felt one of the most important things you could do for your child is to give them a sibling. Someone to have a shared history with. Someone to learn how to navigate the ups and downs of life alongside. For now, they have each other and will develop their own relationship. Hopefully, that shared history will help transcend the disability that makes their connection so difficult. And, hopefully, they will forever remember the importance of being "brothers".