Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Would I Get an Apple?

Shhh!  Don't tell anyone.  But...

I'm becoming a better mother because of autism.  Or at least, a better teacher because of autism.

For so long, my boy's been unresponsive.  And over time, it's shut me down.  But it hit me yesterday, as I was playing with Aksel:

am capable of teaching my boy, because he's responding!

Whether or not Aksel's on the autism spectrum (we have our important 'Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics' appointment on Friday), I've learned how to better communicate with Aksel in past weeks.  And I attribute this success to his speech therapist, Terri.

(Thank you, Terri!)

For instance, she's taught me simple things like:

  • how to effectively play games 
  • how to engage Aksel's attention 
  • how to follow his lead

This may sound ignorant, but I assumed (in the past) that my child understood everything I said and did (within reason).  I assumed in many ways, that he would learn basic skills through osmosis.  Given I was there to support and encourage him along the way.

But I was naive, because I wasn't really speaking to Aksel.  Relating to him, specifically.  He needed a teacher, and I wasn't able.

Not for want or care or love.  

I just didn't have the proper skill set.

We don't exactly wake up knowing how to teach someone else, or do we?  I mean, the nurture thing came natural, but teaching... does it?

Through observation, I'm learning only now to connect with my child. And it feels great after so long!

PS - I'd like to thank those of you that have commented, reached out, or written emails during these past few weeks.  Your show of support and stories with autism have made all the difference! XO

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