Sunday, January 3, 2010

The spectrum

I was standing at the cash register fiddling around with something. I heard this shameless scream. I looked over to my right. Saw a older kid with his mom, hovered around a little boy that they were trying to soothe and make happy. I know this scene far too well. Screaming like your being chased by a monster. Arms flailing. Fear. Its what my son was doing several times earlier today. This is every day. The little boy was older than Wyatt. But the look on his face. It could have been Wyatt. Being a mom of an autistic child, I can tell the difference between the child that is sullen and snotty and the child that looks like they have just seen a ghost. I brought the little boy a toy reindeer to play with. His hands needed something to keep him busy. The lights, the piano the tinny noise of the shoppers. That's a lot for a kiddo with autism to regulate and absorb. He spotted the toy the way Wyatt does. Just a slight sliver of a glance and autism has locked you in on something else. If its the right something else, it will soothe. It will pacify. Mom can shop for a few moments. Big loving brother can take a deep breath and gear up for the next unprovoked meltdown. The boy, his name Alex, lit up. He said "ooh" and smiled. Calmed himself. Wiped his tears. Alex looked sad. He was trying to put himself back together as best he could. Almost as if he knew that he did not want to be this way and did not know how to stop himself. His cheeks red. Mom said "say thank you". He looked at me, painfully and only for a moment, said "thank you" then had to look away. His brother was 13. He said "I don't think you are going to get that toy back". I told him I kind of thought it might go down like that. Mom got to shop a little. Alex was at peace. Something tangible to focus in his hands. An object that would stay predictable and safe. When they were leaving, the older brother came to tell me thank you for my help. The family was possibly Cambodian. Mom said in broken English "he has some autism." I told her my son did too. Alex came to say goodbye. I held my hand up to give 5. He gave me 5 back the way Wyatt does. Repeatedly. With Focus. Open, flexed fingers. Giving everything he had to make a connection.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks. More crying. Maybe you should rename this blog holly-thewayimakemichellecry. <3