Monday, December 9, 2013

My Christmas Wish: Time for a Love Bomb

As you guys know my 9 year-old son Sky is on the autism spectrum. While his autism is "mild," it impacts every point of contact he has with the world around him--his senses, his understanding of language, and his ability to read social cues. We received his diagnosis three years ago this week, and every year, I try to commemorate what I've come to see as this rebirth in some way. It wasn't as much a rebirth for Sky as it was for Ren and I, because for the first time ever, we could understand why he did the things he did, and we could become much better parents for him. We feel so incredibly blessed by this life we have and especially that this diagnosis has helped us help him.

I started blogging not long after his diagnosis because I was looking for a community of parents who had been through this. Autism can be lonely because there is so much misinformation and missing information, and there really is no handbook for how to get your kid all the things he/she needs. In other words, I started blogging for myself. But then a funny thing happened. Sky took interest in my blog. He wanted to hear the stories I was telling. Then he wanted to tell his own. If you have a chance to look through the archives, you will see him desperately trying to help others understand what it's like to have autism. (The posts under the label "Illustration by Sky" touch on this topic the most).

As many of you know, over the summer, we had to move. We moved away from the occupational and speech therapists who'd worked with Sky for more than two years. We moved away from the small school full of friends who've known him since the first days of his diagnosis and who came to accept him just as he is. And we moved when he was in third grade, just when kids seem to be more aware of the social nuances of life and a lot less forgiving of difference.

The move has been hard for me because I completely lost my network of support and have struggled to locate therapists who can help the way the ones we had before did. But, the move has been harder for Sky. He's not like everyone else. He makes a lot of noises, asks weird questions, misreads social cues, and consistently invades peoples' personal space. Not the best traits for helping the new kid fit in, and he's feeling his "difference" like never before. Every day, he says to me, "Mom, it seems like the kids don't understand what it's like to have autism" or "Mom, I miss my old friends because they 'got' me" or "Don't they know how hard I'm trying?" Last week he told me that he's always picked last for gym (everyone's worst nightmare) and that "it's hard to be friends" with the little girl who lives across the street and who happens to be in his class because "every time I try to talk to her, she walks away." My heart is breaking for him, but more than that, I worry because he is getting discouraged, and he no longer feels confident enough to advocate for himself. He's a smart, kind, and funny kid, but he's losing his voice.

So, my wish is this. I wish you, my readers (and your friends and neighbors, and heck, even complete strangers), would love bomb Sky by reading his old posts (click on the label below) and offering him encouraging feedback. By telling him what he helped you understand about autism, and by encouraging him to write more. Let's help him rediscover his voice and to keep telling his story.


Unknown said...

If it wasn't for the beautiful honest of your blog I wouldn't of started mine. Sky's cartoons and explanation are awesome. Chin up Sky!

Massalia said...

My Sweet Sky! I've known you since you were a tiny little baby. You've grown so much. I've always been very impressed by you and your talents, your artwork, your stories, and your intelligence. I know it's difficult for you right now but don't give up. It may take some more time but soon other kids will realize how awesome you are! I feel very lucky to know you. You are one of the greatest kids. Thanks for helping me understand what life is like for you with your stories. I'm sending you tons of love and encouragement.

Anonymous said...

If anyone understands how hard moving can be, it's me. I have struggled with each move -- trying to figure out how I fit in. You are so special Sky -- you just need to be patient while others get to know you and see how special you are. Remember, people can be very shy about accepting anyone new. That has nothing to do with you. Don't give up! You have so much to offer... and soon enough everyone in your new community will see your wonderful qualities and be so grateful they were able to be your friend. Hugs from Texas :)

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Sky! I think there are kids out there who understand you, but maybe they're too shy or it's all too new for them to let you know. Every kid is different, and you are building toward your unique moment to shine. Best of luck from Jennifer and the girls.

Anonymous said...

Hello Sky. I am so sorry to hear that you are having a tough time adjusting to your new school. I went through this with my son who has Asperger's which is a type of autism. He's 27 years old now, and graduated from college. I am also going through this with my grandson who is on the autism spectrum. Hang in there as it will get easier as the kids in your classroom get to know you and understand you better. Your story about autism is awesome as it helps to explain what is difficult for you. I am impressed by how self-aware you are. You should keep writing such stories and share them with your classmates. My grandson who is 4 years old has a two year old sister. He tries very hard to tolerate her, but sometimes he loses it and hits her as she is always in his space. He prefers to play alone. Your "Robot Attack" was very interesting and shows your talents in drawing. I hope you keep drawing and telling your stories. I also enjoyed your "Three Cows" story. Perhaps you will be a writer when you grow up. You are an awesome person, Sky, and have many talents. I have known your family for many years and send you best wishes and lots of love. Katie

Mama Allen said...

Sky, you are a brave and wonderful boy. I love your stories. Please keep sharing them with us!

Like you, I have a really hard time being the "new kid." You won't stay "new" forever, though. A kiddo as awesome as you is going to make a good friend soon and then it will get better. It will!

Stephanie, I love your stories, too. Keep sharing them with us! My remarkable son, Thing 2, struggles in a different way, but I certainly can relate to the challenges and the accompanying heartache that comes from watching my boy work at fitting in. May this season bring you hope--and some good supports for you, your FabFam, and especially for Sky.

(Love)Bombs Away!