Psst…I have a little secret I’d like to share with you. Johnny has never been a shy little boy. Our nick name for him is “Rock Star” because he loves to be the centre of attention. Why were people assuming he was shy because he would not speak to them?
When your child doesn’t say anything to a person when they talk to them, the first assumption is not a speech impairment or Autism its “he’s shy isn’t he?” I used to just go with it because frankly for me it was easier for me and Johnny to just to say “he’s shy.” To this day I don’t like talking about either of my children to someone when they are standing right there. Its not very respectful and I immediately flash back to when I was little and I’d start tugging on my Mom’s arm and saying over and over again “Mommy…Mom…MOM” warning her that I didn’t like that she was sharing stuff about me with me standing there. My Mom was from a very big family (11 children) so she was used to doing things this way. I like to spread awareness about Autism but I don’t want to keep explaining “he has Autism” and use every moment as a teaching moment for each individual that comes up to me. I know some people like with there children but I don’t want to. I want people to just see “Johnny” and accept him for the little boy that is in front of them. When Johnny is older he can decide how we wants to frame things and present himself if someone who is too helpful says something.
Johnny is verbal now and becoming more and more clearer with speech and fighting the Childhood Apraxia. This brings a new level of confidence for him to take risks and to be more social and show everyone much more then a glimpse of who he really is. He can now show everybody, what friends and family already know that he is not shy at all. He loves being the star attraction and getting people to laugh with him.
“Mommy I drive my teacher crazy.”
“Mommy my teacher laughs and calls me her little devil. That’s funny.”
“Mommy I went with my friends at lunch today and did Zumba class. It was fun. I just copied what they did and danced. I liked the music.”
“My friend who is a girl kept stealing my hat off my head at recess. It was funny…so I chased her and kept cuddling her. She thought it was funny too. Now all the girls chase me.”
He does everything with a smile on his face that brightens the room and is contagious. He is so social now that I feel like someone dropped me into a scene from a TV show. Here is good example:
Yesterday I was helping out with a school activity and as I was walking down the hall to exit when I heard the teacher say loudly for the kids who were going to the lunch activity to hurry up. I hear a bunch of excited chatter and see several girls come racing out of the Grade 2 classroom. Johnny, with a big smile on his face is in the centre of 7 girls racing down the hall. Another girl is trying to catch up and yells for him to wait for her because last year he would have of course. But this year is different and my little butterfly has opened his wings and is flying on his own now and is racing ahead of the pack of girls now and is leading them to their Zumba class. Nope…not shy at all.