Thursday, March 30, 2017

Openness and Honesty

We have never tried to hide B's autism from anyone.  In fact, the diagnosis was such a relief that I wanted to shout it to the mountain tops.

I spend a good amount of time trying to predict how things will go for B and then planning accordingly. This way, I'm able to help him better.  But I'm not his only caregiver.  I bring others into the loop and work together to create a plan for B. Eventually, B will be a part of this planning.

We want B to be proud of who God made him to be.  If we openly discuss his autism, it helps remove some of the stigma.  Last week, I showed him a clip from Sesame Street with their new character Julia, who has autism.  When I told him she was autistic, he said "Cool! Like me!"  That's the response we're going for!

Last fall B wanted to play football. Ryan volunteered to coach the team.  B hung in there for a few practices.  He had plans to dress out for the first game.  Ryan and I decided to send an email to the other parents explaining the situation.  We didn't want them to think that we were playing "daddy ball" by not making B practice but then letting him dress out for games.  We explained the challenges B was facing and how much he wanted to be a part of the team.  We gave them language to use with their sons to help them understand B.  Everyoen was very understanding and supportive.  I don' tknow if they talked to their sons or not but the boys were, and still are, awesome with B.  Very accepting.

I mentioned yesterday that B attended a birthday party last week.  My sister in law introduced us to the family.  My neice and their daughter are in the same grade and play basketball together.  During the season, B would go to the games with his Aunt Laura and play with the birthday boy and another team mate's brother.  My sister in law was able to talk to the moms about B and they may have talked to their sons.  I don't know for sure.  What I do know is that one day B got frustrated at school and hit one of the boys.  The next day, that boy came to school with a stress ball for B!

One of my favorite byproducts of openness and honesty about B is that other moms feel comfortable opening up to me about their kiddo's struggles.  In this be perfect, airbrushed, my kid's an honor student world, it's hard to admit that your kid is struggling.  Hopefully, I am a safe person other moms can share with because they know my kid is struggling.  Some times I try to help, if that's what they want.  Other times I just listen.  That can't be underestimated.  To have some one listen and say "I get it", "I've been there", "I'm with you sister" or "I have no idea but can I pray with you?"  It is my pleasure to listen, to help if I can. I'm honored every time I'm given the opportunity to do so.

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