I was more surprised than Michael last Saturday on one of our traditional long walks when it went even longer. And what I mean about longer, is five whole blocks longer! Michael kept saying in a calm low voice:
“No, Mommy. I want to try it. I want to walk farther.”
“Are you sure Michael? We didn’t plan this honey. We may have to alter our afternoon plans.”
“That’s ok Mommy. I want to do it.”
I was so proud of him! Spontaneity! For a kid with autism being spontaneous is NOT easy, or is not usually something they like to do. It brings up all kinds of feelings of anxiety, stress and loss of control over the outcome. Come to think of it, sometimes neuro-typical Moms have a fear of spontaneity! Ahem! 🙂 Regardless though, wow, this was a milestone for Michael and me. And he let things unfold that whole day. We did have to alter the afternoon. Dad got a little stressed, but then I gently pointed out how well Michael was adjusting. Dad smiled and went along with Plan B. Michael showed us, and I hope this post can show all people, neuro typical or exceptional, that just because your brain works a little differently, does not mean you cannot do things like a neuro typical person and they cannot do or feel things like you.
We walked to the end of the five blocks and he was tired, so tired that we asked if Dad could meet us at the shopping center we were originally going to drive to, and then we would all go home together. It ended up being a fun family trip. Michael learned that he couldn’t walk THAT far yet, but when the time was right, he was older, had a little more stamina, we would attempt it together. I loved how he did not view saying he was tired as a failure. That was something that he would have done not too long ago, like several months ago. He has grown up so much. Dad and I were and are very proud.
Exceptional Parents, when have your Exceptional Children taken you by surprise with a spontaneous idea, game, excursion? If it hasn’t happened, fear not. It will. Start by introducing little elements of surprise into their day. I’ve been doing that with Michael thanks to the wonderful advice of a friend who is doing that with her son who has autism. And as a result, tolerance for change and novelty will grow. Enjoy your child, and help them enjoy life and being in the moment. Until next time.