A month ago I had tears in my eyes. They were tears of happiness. My little guy was developing imaginary friends again and better yet, was creating them with craft material like glue, scissors, scotch tape and construction paper. He told me the name of the main character, Dooki, and his various friends, Glegle, Samosa and a few other names I can’t remember at this time. No matter. He is doing crafts. My kid. The kid who hated fine motor. He is writing semi-legibly, the kid who hated doing anything fine motor and hated writing. I am beyond overjoyed. He has reached another milestone in development. Oh, and he is back to writing stories about his characters. I am so proud! It just goes to show how parents can never underestimate what their child will do. They can even learn to enjoy an activity they previously hated doing.
Yes, we have had challenging behaviors, puberty is hitting, and have had to navigate some pretty interesting conversations about hunger, poverty and religion, but I see Michael growing up more each day. He is changing. He even asked me for Legos. Ok, he only wants Star Wars ones, and a police car and ambulance. But what amazed me is he is getting back to playing with toys and things age appropriate more or less. Kids with autism have trouble with make believe and playing. Thinking abstractly is hard for them. They are literal beings. Still, my little guy is changing all that, while he is helping change mine and the world’s perception of autism. His friends are doing it too. Autism is such a vast spectrum. It’s important we never underestimate our child’s potential, wherever they may fall on the spectrum.
Exceptional Parents, what new worlds are your Exceptional Children building for themselves and you? How are they changing your perception of what they are capable of daily, weekly, monthly, yearly? All of our children have abilities and will surprise us if we let them. Encourage your child’s interests, loves and passions, and most importantly, never stop believing in their potential to rise above any challenges in their lives. They are strong individuals, and they will persevere if they know they have their caregivers in their corner. Until next time.
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How many parents of kids with and without autism celebrate them playing video games? Let me see a raise of hands! I didn’t think so. And if I didn’t have a son who did not struggle with fine motor stuff, crafts and building, I would not have cared. What made me excited about Michael’s blossoming interest in playing video games with his Dad and doing Dooki and other craft building with construction paper, scissors, scotch tape, and glue, is that it means he has turned a page in his development.
In the last month, I have seen how he is gravitating to doing things that are challenging for him, and better yet, he is liking doing it. He proudly showed me his cutting skills the other day. Today he talked again about the special game he would play with the craft toys he made himself. He saved that special game to play with his father. I am awed and amazed developmentally and social skills wise. Michael will always love movement, sports and going out places. Yet I see a change in him as he is approaching his 10th birthday. Maturity is moving alongside rebellious moments of testing me and telling me he does not want to listen sometimes or does not like what I say.
How did I manage to help him? I can’t take for credit for this one, other than saying I have always encouraged exploration of different toys, ways of doing things, and learned to be patient when Michael has hit a standstill or is stuck. I will demonstrate or talk about things and let him come into his own. Here though, I credit all the fine motor with his school, therapists, and the wonderful extra-curricular activities where there were fine motor and craft components. As for the video, there I credit his peers who he copies and likes to emulate. His buddy last year loved Star Wars and now Michael does too. It is the same thing with Legos now and other toys. I love it. He has his own mind, but is slowly becoming interested in what those around him like to do. He has emerged from his shell, and is coming into his own little person. There are frustrating moments still, but we handle them together on the same page now.
Exceptional Parents, what new developments do you see your Exceptional Child doing? All our kids are moving forward in one way or another. Sometimes we are so busy we may miss it. Don’t worry. Take a deep breath. Look around you. Look at how far your child has come in learning, and praise them for that. Celebrate every little victory. They deserve it. Until next time.
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