At the beginning of January after Christmas holidays, an amazing thing happened on the morning school bus that I want to share. Its a story about never giving up on hope, that all kids move forward and progress in their own way. The following tale is very different from what happened 2 years ago on the school bus when Johnny was in Grade 1. Please read this so you begin to understand how huge and hopeful this is.
This morning an amazing thing happened when I took the kids to the school bus. Mike was on the right, behind the bus driver which is his new spot. On the left where he usually sits is John. I say hi like I always do to Mike and then John. Mike says “hi”and with a big smile and waves. John is usually stimming or looking out the window.
Today is very different and I got a big surprise. John reached out and grabbed my hand and looked me in the eye and made a sound. He then took my hand and rubbed my hand gently across his cheek. Nothing ever prepares you for the moment when an Autistic child shares a moment with you. It is so intense and deep. When John did this it felt like many moons ago when my son Johnny was non-verbal and would show me affection by sniffing my hand and wrist and then rub his face on my arm and hand in a sweet caress. I stood there in shock and then I could barely say anything at first and only smile. Then he gave my hand an extra squeeze and in a bit of a daze I went to buckle my children up like I normally do. Poor Mike, he was really desperately trying to get my attention now because I hadn’t said hi to him yet like I usually do. You see Mike is the same age as Johnny and John and is Autistic plus he has Apraxia too. He has gone from being completely non-verbal last year to beginning say simple one to two word quick sentences. He has always been social but he is joyful about being able to communicate now. This is new. This is special.
I say see you later to my kids and as I turn to get off the bus I look back and see three boys who all have Autism and are the same age. I see three very different boys who are each smiling at me. I see three boys who at one point in their lives were not communicating the way that the rest of the world expects people to communicate with each other. I see three little boys who now interact with others with smiles on their faces. What a great way to start 2016.
There is more to this story that I am going to tell in the coming days so please check back.