When I found out Michael had autism everything I had thought his life would be became one big question mark. Many other parents have shared this same insight on finding out that their child is different. They mourn the child that he/she will never be, what they will (or may) never do, and they worry about the missed milestones. You know what though? This isn’t always the case. Sometimes your Exceptional Child will surprise you and actually do the milestones then surpass them. Yes, you heard me correctly! Let’s take peer groups. Just like most special needs kids are not supposed to be interested in socializing (Michael SO is), many also do not care about peer groups. Michael SO cares. He is like a neuro typical peer copying for better or worse what his friends do. I feel both blessed by his need to fit in and worried about it, as any parent would be. Though it is great he wants to be accepted by his friends we also want him to learn to think for himself. This is easier said than done for a child who has a limited grasp of social skills and norms of society through his neurologically different way of seeing the world. It also means he will be slower to learn to think for himself, but then I am celebrating the fact that he is able to argue with us about thinking for himself. And argue he does these days. 😉
For sure these are all victories and milestones I was not sure we would be facing with a son who has autism. Now as he is moving into puberty, all the sexual and romantic feelings towards women have started emerging. Again, it is in his way, as only it would be, but these were things I was not sure Michael would ever experience. Sometimes kids on the spectrum have no interest in these things. It has provided us with additional challenges on how to parent Michael, but Dad and I are up for that challenge and know that with the great tools we have found, we will be in a position to help Michael through it.
The thing is, that sometimes it so hard navigating this seesaw of exceptional brains and neuro typical brain thinking that Michael is capable of. It certainly keeps me and Dad on our toes, but can be stressful too. Thank goodness we have a community to share this with, and of course a great kid who, in the end, is just himself and does not fit into any category, nor should he. This goes for any other child really.
Exceptional Parents, how often have your Exceptional Children surprised you by what they have shown you they can do or are capable of? Remember, a textbook definition of autism is just that, a generalization. Always expect the unexpected from your child. It will happen in good and bad ways. Don’t worry about the bad. There you will find the strategies to help them. As far as the good, enjoy it. This will help them grow confidently into who you know they can become. Until next time.
Feeling overwhelmed as an Exceptional Parent? Don’t know where to turn for tips, and ways to survive and thrive during the whole journey? You are not alone. I have walked and continue to walk this path myself. As a writer, speaker, parent coach and Mom to a son with Autism, ADHD, and Type 1 Diabetes, I can help you through all the twists and turns that parenting an exceptional child require, while keeping your sense of humor intact, your sense of self and relationships intact, and helping you see that not only are you raising your exceptional child, but they are raising you to be the best human being you can be. You are each other’s advocates for a better world. For more information on my coaching packages, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com