Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Parenting autism

Today I had an interesting time parenting TJ's autism. We were waiting while Peter had his guitar lesson and TJ was playing on his iPad with headphones. He was whispering - I think he was reciting Spongebob (side note - in Montreal they call it "Bob L'eponge". I love that for some reason). Everyone could hear him and he was getting some strange looks. I tapped him on the shoulder and reminded him to be quiet, which lasted about 2 seconds before his arms were flying in the air, and Bob L'eponge was being recited again. He had a huge grin on his face.

I love that grin. I was uncomfortable with the way people were looking at him, but didn't want to take his grin away. I had a moment of panic when I thought maybe I should let everyone know that he has autism, so the looks would stop. But TJ didn't have a problem with the looks, it was only me. So I decided to let him do what he wanted to. He continued to flail away, joyously.

As we were driving home, I explained to him that everyone in the waiting room could hear him and didn't understand that he has autism, and asked if he was bothered by the way people were looking at him. He said no. I told him he could do whatever he wanted to do, as long as he was comfortable and not hurt by some of the looks he gets. If the looks bother him, I want him to understand why he is getting them. He said he was fine and had fun.

In the end my head knows that that is all that matters - that TJ understands what is happening around him and is ok. It doesn't matter how uncomfortable I am at all. It's a tough pill for me to swallow.

But his grin always makes it easier.

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