So Michael is at the point in his development that he wants to learn to play with toys or games, but does not know where to start. He has asked his teacher in the past and me to show him. I feel so proud that he wants to learn to do something that does not come easy. He is an imaginative child. He has written some simple, short stories about his imaginary friend and our cat going on adventures. Yes, he is quirky! And he has some figurines left from his previous toy purge and he is looking for ways to play with them. It is tricky for him. He has imagination, but it does not work like everyone else’s. This is an advantage as he comes up with new ideas and new ways to see the world. But it also makes it harder for him to see how the rest of us play and interact. It’s kind of like when I have to show him not to run up to someone he knows and start talking to them if they are talking to someone else already, it’s knowing him how to be himself in a world that is not like him, where a lot of people kind of fit the same mold.
What is so cool about Michael and kids like him though, is that he really does not care what others think. This is the flip side. Sure it’s due to the way his brain is wired, but it’s refreshing and humbling for me as his Mom to walk by his side. Last Friday he had pajama day at his camp. They also did face painting. I decided that we would pick up pizza for dinner and after camp Michael would come with me. I told him we could go home briefly to remove the face paint and for him to change. He told me no, that it didn’t bother him to go into the store in his pajamas with face paint. Wow. I don’t think I could have done that even now. It took me until my early forties to really stop caring what people thought. Michael, knows this lesson at ten. I think it is autism’s gift to him and to all people like him. As they operate the way the rest of the world does, they have their own moral code, and show us, it’s not bad. It actually can be fun if you let yourself think and live outside the box. This is truly neurodiversity, and it’s important that while parents teach their child to fit in, they must also help the world understand that it is a beautiful thing to stand out.
Exceptional Parents, when was the last time you saw your Exceptional Child’s eccentricity as one of their gifts? Remember, you can show them skills, like play skills, but in turn they have lots they can show you, like how to be true to who you are inside and not be afraid to let your own inner quirkiness shine through. With the two of you showing the other what it’s like on the “other side”, you can both learn and grow together. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.
For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.