Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sorry, Not Sorry

A doctor once told us that B was 'too social to be autistic'.  That was the last time we visited that doctor.  Autism encompasses so many things.  One of my favorite autism quote is "Once you've met one autistic person, you've met one autistic person."  Autism effects everyone differently.  B wants to be social, he just doesn't always know how to do it appropriately.

He is super friendly.  He loves to talk to people in public.  That's always an anxious moment for me. How will the other person respond to him? Will they be nice or look at him like he's a weirdo? This anxiety used to lead me to apologize for him, "Sorry, he's autistic."

But I'm not sorry he's autistic.  I think it's awesome.  I love that quirky little brain.  It produces so many interesting ideas and questions.  And I don't want him to be sorry he's autistic.  I want him to be proud of who he is.

Last week B, Ryan and I were in Target.  B said hello to a person passing by.  Ryan apologized.  Then it hit me! "We need to stop apologizing to strangers for him. He's being nice.  Let's let him be nice."  Ryan immediately agreed.

I do realize that sometimes we will need to explain B to people.  I actually love helping people understand him better.  But I'm not going to be sorry anymore.  Sorry is for when you hurt someone.  B isn't hurting anyone with his friendliness.

B loves babies.  We are teaching him how to behave around babies.  I was thrilled when he asked a mom at the pool, "Can he be tickled?" before tickling her baby boy.   His 1st grade teacher recently had a baby and we saw them at church.  B was very excited to meet the baby and offer advice on TV shows the baby could watch.  When my niece had a baby, my mom took B to the hospital to meet the new baby.  B made up a song on the spot.

Those are sweet, loving things that I don't want to squash.  So sorry, not sorry peoples of the world.  B man is on the loose.


Wm Chamberlain said...

What is it about our culture that makes us uncomfortable around people (kids or adults) who are open and friendly in public? It would seem we should be more encouraging of that behavior and yet we are not.

Unknown said...

When my now graduated kiddo was in elementary school, he was, well.... weird. Everyone else thought so. He tended to say the most observant but not socially savvy things. He would talk on and on about tractors. He tended to break things or touch things he wasn't supposed to. He ignored people he found boring, or just flat walked away. It was so hard as a parent to watch people treat my baby boy like someone they didn't want to be around. I learned to predict what possible issues might arise in every situation. That helped some. Still, some people didn't want him around. He got excluded. I finally had to learn to communicate to him that he was wonderful to me, regardless of what "others" thought. Their opinions didn't really matter anyhow. Between that and lots of social coaching, he has become an awesome young man. The irony is that some of the same people who didn't want to be around him at 4-5-6-7 want to celebrate his achievements at 18. Sorry, not sorry, I haven't forgotten. I don't feel angry about it, but I know that those people once treated a kind hearted but different child like he was weird. Well, who is the weirdo now??