Our mind was created with the ability to be resourceful. In fact this creative power is a wonderful blessing to help many of us have new ideas or concepts of external objects not present to the senses. However, this same ability can be difficult to master for children like M. True, no two children with autism are alike. However, like M many do demonstrate a literal-minded outlook. Hence, M take words in the usual basic sense without metaphor or allegory. Thus, I found it very important to make sure when communicating with M to be plain or exact. Also, this can be true with objects being seen as basic sense value. It is because of this outlook or literal-mind process that like M many children benefit from play therapy. This help M grasp the concept of pretend play or interaction play with peers. One day I over heard M repeating the phrase “hellooo”. At first I assumed M wanted something. However, as I came into M room a surprised awaited. M was sitting on the floor holding a plastic block in hand. M kept poking the object with one finger. Afterward, M would hold block to ear and repeat “hellooo”. In that moment I realized M was not calling me for something but rather pretending to be calling on a telephone. M had finally tapped into the power of imagination. That day M taught me that all the years of therapy was worth unlocking M imagination.
The word understand carries a simple meaning of perceive the intend of something or infer something from information received. However, this word take on a whole new depth by adding the three little letters ‘ing’ to the end. Now the word becomes not only a noun but an adjective upholding so many wonderful synonyms. This ‘ing’ word brings sensitive, considerate, tender, kind, patient, and having insight just to mentioned a few. So many times M has to visit medical facilities for various procedures. These times can be very unsettling for M. As M mother it can be extremely challenging when some procedures may be painful to M such as being stick by needles. My heart hurt seeing tears falling from M. Many parents with children like M go through countless moments like this and the pain they feel is real. It’s important during this time that both child and parent have understanding caregivers. For example, M needed to have a procedure that required using scissors and a special saw. The medical team remembered from previous visit M sensitivity to buzzing sounds and extreme meltdown to unusual fear of steal shiny scissors. The team displayed amazing understanding of M by making special accommodations. That led to effectively causing the procedure to be mildly stressful for M. Hence, this experience would help M feel less anxiety next visit with the medical team. M experienced on that medical visit taught me the value of understanding. For M being surrounded by people who were sympathetically aware of other people’s feeling was invaluable.
I supposed our human nature compel us to want to give the best to our children. Sometimes it can be financially expensive to provide all the things you want to give to your child. For many parents who have children like M the extra numerical cost for basic needs often surpass wants. However just like many parents of children like M, when you notice a beautiful talent your child posses money becomes obsolete. One day I noticed M knocking on various objects. M would turn head side ways to listen to the different sounds each knock made. In the process M would be humming, flapping one hand and bouncing on the tip of toes. M did this interesting behavior for a couple of days. I begun to wonder was M listening to the rhythm sounds of objects. Yes, an idea came to me that perhaps M would love a musical drum set or even keyboard. I imaged all the beautiful musical sounds M could produce on such instruments. I was so excited for the musical instrument purchase for M that I thought wrapping it in beautiful blue wrapping paper would be awesome. I admit adding the big bow on top may have been over kill. I placed the gift in M room for M to discover enhancing the excitement. True, parents love to see their children overjoyed when being presented with a gift. We play over in our mind their reaction or response. However, on that day no matter how hard I tried M would not come into the room. Instead, M had discovered by knocking on wooden doors and metal doors the most amazing sound effects. In fact, M had so much enjoyment/excitement running all around the house knocking on the doors. In that moment M thought me that joy/happiness or excitement can come from the simplest thing. Sometimes we already have what was needed like for M wooden/metal doors and pots/pans to make beautiful musical sounds. Interestingly, M finally did notice the gift…three days later.
Today was a big day. We had awaken before dawn. This was not going to be a typical morning routine for M. I had prepared myself ahead of time for this day. I even explained to M everyday as best as I could before this day arrived. I am sure like most parents preparation is important when a major event is about to happen for your child. However as M mom, I wondered did I do enough for M to understand. I rushed through the house trying to beat the clock “I 10 by 10” as the expression goes. Interestingly, M just hummed along as if whatever not worrying about time. In fact after I finishing dressing myself, I focused attention on getting M ready. M had made way to our bedroom and was intently observing the new bed spread on our bed. I repeatedly called for M to focus on getting dress. However, M kept intensely staring at the bed spread all the while humming and twirling hands. Yes, I was in a rush but the more I tried to force M to get dress while in this mode the more frustrating M became. In that moment, I realized M was stemming. I noticed how M was rocking back/forth, humming, turning head sideways, and twirling hands. It dawn on me that although the paisley multi colored spread appeared pretty to my eyes, that perhaps to M it had a whole lot of synodic patterns and colors to process. M could not move on until this new bed spread had been processed. Granted it took M about another ten to fifteen minutes to complete this process. Afterwards, M peacefully got dressed. True we ran a few minutes late to M hospital appointment. However, M taught me that it’s important to slow down and see things from another person perspective by doing so you can avoid a lot of unnecessary frustration.
Often times we as adults become so busy with life in general that we forget sometimes to pay attention to the smallest things in life. In the first two weeks of school M struggled with the new upside down world of a new school. True, M did received a private tour of the school. However, for M it was so confusing now filled with strange, loud, and unusually sounds. The lights seem brighter or perhaps flashing too much for the eyes to behold. Whats that smell or where all these people who are my size coming from such questions bouncing off in Ms’ brain. Not to mention many different adult voices and faces to process. M was experiencing sensory overload. In this state M mind divided into fight or flight mode. As M mom, I prayed each day for those at the school responsible for M care to have patience with my confused M. I know that education primarily focus on academics. Hence, children like M can become lost in this maze. However, all is not lost. Each day when M comes and leaves school, many classmates along with other children in the school welcomes and say good-bye to M. This has impacted M world so much that now M put forth great effort to say “heeeey” and “byeeeee”. Two beautiful words to M vocabulary. This thaught me that M is aware of peers because of their compassion to understand or accept M. A beautiful thing when compasion can bring a moutain down to a peeple not only for children like M but for all human being.