Monday, April 01, 2013

Autism Understanding: Day One

He pads in to me
Leans his head on my tummy
Whispers, "I love you."

The first thing you should know about my son is he is one of the most unique people I have ever met. If you know me, you know what a huge thing I am saying. Absolutely, positively unique; no one sees the world quite the way he does, and the intensity with which he loves people around him can sometimes be overwhelming. He likes thing in his own way, in his own time.

And once you grasp the absolutely uniqueness of everyone around you, and especially Joey, I think you will find the world is a fascinating, intense place.

Joey has a way of walking right up to people and just starting talking, as if he's known them all his life. It takes people by surprise, unexpected and often disconcerting to strangers. However, it is very rare for them not to smile, if they give him a minute, listen to what he has to say, listen to the love and friendship and acceptance he is offering. I can tell a lot about a person in how they react to Joey; the first three seconds when he walks up and accepts them as people, just as they are. Will they repay the compliment, the kindness, the love, or not? It often turns out to be all I need to know.

As we enter April, I ask you to move beyond just "Autism awareness" and into "Autism understanding." Take a minute and listen to what Joey has to offer you. You might find that there really are people here with the one reason of loving everyone, and giving each and every one of us a chance to be ourselves.

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