This is one of my favorite pictures of my son at Walt Disney World one week after he was diagnosed as Autistic. This was during his Peter Pan phase.
Sunday is my day to talk about my family. Who we are, why we do the things we do or anything that is important in our life. I figure you spend part of your day reading about our life you should know a bit more who you are reading about.
On the ride home from Chicago last week my 13 year-old son and I had two hours of alone time when we had nothing else we could really do except talk. It was actually a really great time with him. We don’t talk much about his Autism because it is just part of him. But, there had been some questions in the back of my head that I had been wondering about.
I asked him “Do you hate being Autistic sometimes? Would you get rid of it if you could?” He told me sometimes wishes he wasn’t Autistic but not as much as he did when he was little. He believes it is his Autism that helps make him as smart as he is.
He was able to talk about how as he is growing older he is paying more attention to the details of people. My son still doesn’t understand people’s emotions and what they are trying to convey to him sometimes with them. But, he said he can see why people do the things they do now or react the way they do to something. He is starting to see the “bigger picture” behind people’s actions because he studies them to figure out what they really mean when they speak to him.
He said he sometimes feels guilty saying he is Autistic because there are so many other kids that are more Autistic than he is. We finally talked about the levels of Autism and how he doesn’t need to feel guilty. The label just lets us get him some help in school for things that are difficult for him – organizational skills, understanding emotion, making friends, talking to people and social skills. These are things that will help him as he gets older and needs them as he goes out in the world to work and live a full and productive life. It is okay to get the help because everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
One thing he said he likes about his Autism is that it is helping him become a better actor. Because he reads, a lot, and studies people he understands motivation and he is still getting accolades from people for his portrayal of Scar in The Lion King. One thing the director liked is that he didn’t strictly follow the movie version as most kids would have done but made it his own. She told him he should be on film because he captures the nuances of the character right down to his minor facial expressions that aren’t always seen on stage. He has decided he loves villains and buddy characters in plays, movies and stories because they tend to be characters that are more richly thought out.
So for now he is sticking with his plan to become President by working his way through State offices and be an actor and restaurant owner on the side. He has big dreams.