I would like to take a moment to tell you about my son. Not so much for you to get to know him but to simply be aware of how hard it can really be sometimes.
My boys started indoor soccer this year. While my son stood there, shoulders up beside his ears and tears in his eyes, he’d repeatedly run to the bench where I sat for a big hug. He wasn’t afraid exactly, but he felt extremely uncomfortable. Meanwhile his brother ran up and down the gym, worked with his team and even got himself a goal!
At a friend’s birthday, my son refused to go and play with the others. It was laser tag, in the dark with a few bright lights and lasers and lots of loud children running around. It was all too much. For his senses and his fears. He chose to sit it out. While the children all laughed and talked over presents and cake, my son insisted on sitting with me at the end of the table where he didn’t interact with anyone else except to nod his head when asked if he wants cake.
When I drop my boys off at school each morning, my son stands there, begging to stay home. Begging to stay with me. Begging to “no school”, as he phrases it. As other children say hi and ask him to play, he ignores them. Not so much as a head shake or a shrug. He cries, his gaze focused on me. As I go back to my car, he ventures out of the school yard, to the edge of the road… this morning, he inched his way onto the road until I finally went back to him to insist that he needs to be there, that he needs to finish this one last day before we can spend the whole week-end together. It fell on deaf ears. As I leave once again, he trudges towards the school, head down, crying his eyes out and ignoring his classmates as they ask him if he’s ok or if he wants to play.
Meanwhile his brother barely sticks around long to get his backpack over his shoulder, running off as quickly as he can to soak up every available minute to play before the bell rings and summons them inside.
The son I’m talking about? His name is Tyler and he does not have autism.
His brother, the one that plays great soccer and is eager to laugh and play with friends is his brother Cameron, who does have autism.
Autism isn’t always as obvious as you might think.