Good morning world, and welcome once again to my somewhat wacky little corner of cyberspace. It's Monday again, and that means it's time for another ramble on Special Needs Children. Now I realize that from some of my previous rambles, as well as items you may have seen on other sites dealing with Autism and other Special Needs, you may have gotten the feeling that having child on the spectrum is a constant struggle; and I must admit that there is more of that than I'd really like to admit sometimes, but it's not all problems. An autistic child really does have the same wants and needs as other children, and there can be a great deal of joy mixed in with the sadness.
One example of this is what has become almost a daily ritual in getting my son up and ready for school. Like I was (and still am when I'm not on call), Wills doesn't like to wake up in the morning. As a result, most mornings he wants to cuddle for anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes before he actually gets out of bed. He also loves when I do a version of that old Loony Toons routine of "I will hug him and hold him and squeeze him and never let him go and call him George". Ok, ok, I know. That's not the way that bit originally went. So sue me. HE loves it, and the often gets a huge case of the giggles when I do it. Hell, sometimes he'll even come up, take ahold of my arms and wrap my arms around him and then tell me "Let me go!" Now go ahead and tell me that wouldn't make your day. I doubt there's a parent out there that doesn't know just how precious cuddles like this can be!
Other times, his unique way of looking at the world can lead to moments you'd never really expect. For example, not very long ago Wills came up to my wife and told her "I don't like make up. Wash it off!" It took my wife a bit to figure out what he was talking about. It sounded like he had gotten into her or his sister's make up and didn't like the way it looked on him, but there was no sign of make up anywhere on his face! Finally it clicked. You see, Wills has hit puberty with all the associated changes including body hair where he's not used to having hair. What he was objecting to was his mustache, and he was upset because it wouldn't wash off! Another example came a couple of Christmas's ago. His school had opened up a special store where the Special Needs children could shop for Christmas gifts for their families. Wills' teacher told us afterwards that he had picked out the gifts completely by himself. The result was that each of us got a gift that none of us would have asked for, or even thought of getting for each other, but each one showed a shrewd understanding of the person it was bought for and in hindsight was absolutely perfect! This has a way of making Christmas even more exciting for us for we never know if Wills is going to buy presents or not, and if he is, what we'll get from him.
The final example I'm going to show you happened just this weekend. Of course I have a YouTube channel (you can hardly find a better or cheaper way for a small business like mine to get word of their products out there), and my daughter is starting her own YouTube channel as well (and no, I'm not going to tell you which one it is even though I'm extremely proud of what she's done so far. You don't need to know it, and from a personal safety point of view it's just as well if you don't know she's my daughter if you do happen to come across it). Take Wills watching us post our videos and add in the typical autistic fascination with all things computer and it should come as no surprise that he would want to post some of his own videos. Mind you I did say should, but in point of fact it was a huge surprise when I was going over my personal e-mail late last night and came across several notices from YouTube congratulating me on successfully posting a new video on my Targets With Attitude account! Yep. You guessed it. Wills had uploaded not one, but four videos he made himself to my account. Of course as soon as I found out about them I immediately took them private until I figure out just what to do with them, but I think it may be time to set Wills up with his own YouTube account. In the mean time though, I'm going to allow just one of his videos to be made public for a short period of time so that those of you who may be interested can get a view of just what a video made by an autistic child would be like.
So there you have another brief glimpse into the life of a family with an autistic child. Are there the occasional problem? Of course! But then again, what family doesn't have the occasional problem or two? If nothing else, I've yet to meet a teenager who doesn't decide at one point or another that their parents are completely clueless. I'll even reluctantly admit that the problems one runs into raising a child on the spectrum can be much different in specifics, though generally not in type. But inspite of that, none of us would trade our children for the world. Yes, their autism can make things different, sometimes even difficult; but they would not be the people we love if they weren't autistic and that is something special all on it's own.