We are honored to have a guest blogger this week. Jon Rubin, He is a husband, 4th grade teacher and a dad of 3. Jon’s son Sawyer is autistic, his blog will inspire you and touch your heart. Please follow him on twitter @autismdad603 as well as his website https://autismdadinthe603.com/
7:25 in the morning is a target. If letter A through Z goes remotely smooth than bullseye. If not, than the household can crumble like a game of Jenga.
This is the Autism that scares me. The unpredictability that can start off our day with an increased heart rate. Whether it be the non verbal looks I get from my wife, Kellie who looks at me from a distance as I watch Sawyer bang his hand on the ground because he can’t get his shoe on. Or the clock that just turned 7:10 and Sawyer hasn’t gotten dressed yet. Every second counts.
I’ll admit. I’m selfish here. I was up at a little bit before 4am. I have made it to the gym. I have already taken the dog out. I have already showered. If you’re noticing the trend of l’s here, than you are onto something.
The bulk of Sawyer getting ready falls on my wife. I tend to walk in as everyone is waking up. When everything seems calm, it is because I’m arriving at intermission.
I missed out on the screams at 6:30 when Sawyer wanted to find his own clothes. I wasn’t around to watch the refusal to put his pants on right side out. I also didn’t see the battle to help tie his shoes.
I only see the Sawyer at 6:50 who is eating his eggs at the kitchen table who is perfectly content.
Now this is what my wife and I have agreed to and what works for our family. However, it doesn’t make things easier. It doesn’t erase the target of 7:25.
Autism can mean a lot of things. In the morning I tend to think of it as a timeline. A timeline that if one doesn’t follow it the way Sawyer interrupts it than you may be in for a lot of hiccups.
The goal still exists regardless of the morning though. When the clock hits 7:20, we all know that for all of us to make it to our destinations on time is for Sawyer to be ready.
It doesn’t matter that we realize that the driveway is a sheet of ice at 7:23. It doesn’t matter the suggestions that we walk him out at 7:24. Sawyer wants to do this himself.
So we watch him fall on the ice. We watch him get back up. He will look back at us when his bus arrives. Target reached. In the waves that crashed inside the house, he made it himself. He did It himself. That’s Autism. That’s Sawyer.
They say “Laughter is the best medicine” and in some cases I think this is true. I know I have had a bad headache and really laughed and it helped my headache. I tend to laugh a lot, One of the things I Love most about Mark is he makes me really laugh. My older three kids also laugh a lot, especially my daughter. She and I have been known to laugh at basically nothing and keep laughing, even though we aren’t sure why. Some of my favorite memories are when my kids were really laughing together and “being kids”. We all love to see our kids be happy and enjoying what life has to offer. This isn’t always so easy with autism. This isn’t to say they don’t smile or laugh, as some laugh uncontrollably and this as well can alarm parents.
Peyton does smile and he also laughs, however he doesn’t laugh at the frequency or level,most kids his age do. He is somewhat shy, as is my third child, but even when he is truly happy he doesn’t “express it” like my older kids do. This really hit me a couple of Sunday’s ago. Peyton’s brother Preston made him an awesome computer. I knew he really loved it because he talked about it a lot to me. He thanked Preston several times and uses it all the time. Preston asked me if Peyton really liked it, I told how much he uses it. Preston was very happy to hear that. He said to me he thought he did, but Peyton didn’t say a lot to him. My older kids understand and accept that Peyton doesn’t always express himself. I can’t tell you how much that means to me that they understand and accept Peyton as he is! I know they love him unconditionally and will do anything for him. I also know that Peyton isn’t going to be understood or accepted by everyone. This isn’t to say we are all liked by everyone, because we aren’t. My point is though that Peyton has had situations where people are mean to him because he “acts different” this hurts my heart, and it also angers me. Part of why I became an autism activist was to help others understand Peyton and other autistic kids and adults.
I am a firm believer that love, understanding and acceptance of Peyton is by far the best “medicine” for him. When he feels comfortable around people he talks more, is relaxed and yes, even laughs! My hope is that those who aren’t around autistic kids and adults, will educate themselves on how to interact with them. I always appreciate it when people reach out to me and ask questions, it shows they care and want to understand. Many autistic adults have enough stress in their daily lives, so every little thing that can lower that stress is awesome! My hope is that others take the time to understand Autism. I also hope those close to autistic kids and adults, shower them with unconditional love. I know with Peyton when these things happen, I see him enjoying life more! Nothing warms my heart more than hearing Peyton laugh!