So Michael has thrown me a few curve balls this year, good ones I’m happy to report. This has been nice as there have been the usual “settling into the school year” ones which are a little stressful this time of year. How has he surprised me? He has opted out of an activity he has been doing since he was three years old, a special gym and swim program, saying he was ready for change, AND he has asked to have one less structured activity so he could “explore shopping centers and playgrounds more.” Wow. The exploring more didn’t surprise me that much due to the fact that he loves navigating, but what did surprise me was his wanting out of an activity that has been a part of his life for so long. He was willing to do another swim program, just at a different pool. Dad and I said we were alright with it.
OK, I have to be honest. It was more of a surprise to me how shocked I was that he didn’t want to do this activity. I actually felt a little anxious and stressed myself that this activity would be missing from our weekly schedule. What does that say about me? I have become even more of a creature of habits than Michael has. I have become as attached to my schedule as he has. It was interesting as at first I fought it a little. So did Dad. We could not believe that he really was fed up, Michael who craved routine, the same structure. It became so interesting to us to see that we were now the ones who needed a little shove in a new direction. Dad and I were so proud of Michael, and we reiterated to him that we are proud of him and know he will do well. At the same time, we also reminded him that if he misses his old swim program we would call up and see if he could go in the winter session or the spring one. We want him to know nothing is absolute and it’s good he wants to try new things. He is beginning to understand that growth only happens when we do new things. Mom and Dad and slowly learning that too. Michael is ever the patient teacher.
Exceptional Parents, when did your Exceptional Child last surprise you by being spontaneous and making a big change? When did they get you to think outside the box? Lots of kids with autism are capable of doing this and enjoying the journey of learning more about themselves as they do so. It’s important as parents we continue to encourage all their exploration in any direction and stay behind them showing them that risk taking is an important part of growing up. Until next time.
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