When I explained to this mom that Reagan has autism, she gasped, recoiled slightly and said, "Oh, no!", like I had just shared with her that I have a face eating virus. Folks, this is not the right reaction to a mother of a child who is different. This may be your internal reaction. I don't blame you for that. No one wants difficult things to happen to them or their children. But challenges are going up happen to all of us at sometime. No matter what. So instead of pity, show interest. Show kindness. Show curiosity. Offer to clean my house. I'll never shy away from talking about Reagan. He's the best. Saying, "oh, okay", is fine too.
This is how you react to someone with autism:
This year has been super hard in many regards. Reagan does not learn and perform the way the rest of us do. We spent most days after school doing additional schoolwork, often around 2 hours more. If it doesn't sound fun, rest assured that it wasn't fun. I loved getting to teach him. There is something special about teaching your children. But I didn't love the copious amounts of time required to do things that weren't copacetic with his way of learning.
One thing that really improved the year for both of us is a couple of friends who made their way into Reagan's life. Two girls, Kelsey and Alexandra, started playing with Reagan at recess. It was as simple as them noticing he was alone, asking what he wanted to do and joining in. He immediately latched onto this friendship and he noticeably brightened in his attitude toward school. For me, it's nothing short of a miracle. I worried less about him. I'm so grateful that there are some nice kids out there.
So, here's your chance: here is Scarlett. She was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder a few weeks ago. The fun just never stops at this house.