Naked On The Spectrum

I’m writing this in honor of Autism Awareness Month. I’m not an autism expert by any stretch of the word. Truth be told, up until the past couple of years, I might’ve considered myself scared of autistic people. Not scared in a heebee jeebees kind of way. Scared in an innocent, ignorant, unsure kind of way. For the love, the concept of one being painfully shy baffles me, let alone someone who might be non verbal, or other “weird” things!

I didn’t realize until the last couple of years there was an autism spectrum. I have friends who have autistic children. They’re on all levels of the spectrum. Two, in particular, that I’ve gotten to know very well, have caused me to look at autistic people totally different.

I suppose it was easier for me to get to know these two young men because they talk more than anyone I’ve ever met. THAT, I can understand. They certainly aren’t afraid to tell you like it is! One has a bit of a temper, and the other is a gentle giant. Both loving and kind, and although somewhat socially awkward, they’re smart as a whip!

Brandon, used to tease me about my hair being a different color every week. He also thinks I’m a superstar, which is one of the reasons I love him so much! Another thing I love about Brandon is that he has insight on things that others might not see. Like the time we were talking about Tucker getting in trouble for something crazy and I said, “Yeah, that Tucker sure is a handful.” Brandon said, and I quote, “What does that say about your parenting skills?” I guess he got me! The thing is with Brandon, when he gives you a zinger like that, he walks away. He doesn’t stick around for you to retaliate. I guess he figures there’s nothing left to say. 🙂 His mom, Sabrina, often apologizes for the things he says, but there’s no need at all. It cracks me up because he’s usually right!

And there’s Josh. Big ‘ol, huggin’, kissin’, talk your ears off, Josh. One time he told me, and his mom, that he thought he’d seen on TV, that if he smoked pot it would reverse some of his issues. We busted out laughing, but Josh assured us that he was serious. His mom laughed and said, “Well, by all means, smoke up!” Just last week, his brother was totally disturbed when he walked into the kitchen to find Josh standing there naked as a jay bird, eating a bowl full of hotdogs. Not something you expect to run up on in the middle of the night.

Brandon drives and works, while Josh doesn’t. However, yesterday I was talking to Josh’s mom, Tina. We were talking about how much Josh talks, that’s when it hit me! She’d been searching for something, anything for Josh to do with his time. I told her the perfect job for him would be to drop him off at the hospital and let him talk to patients who were in comas!! I told her that after a few hours of nonstop talking, they just might wake up and say, “Could you just be quiet for five minutes! Please! For the love of all that is good and holy, just give me a few minutes of quiet!” He could be called the “Coma Whisperer”. He could have a reality tv show, and have Brandon as a guest star! I could be the producer, and all three families could benefit! This is brilliant!!

Needless to say, I love both these young men. Are they different? You bet! Do they sometimes say things to people that would be better left unsaid? Sure do! Do their parents sometimes wish things were different for them? I imagine they do, but don’t we all. Do their parents love them as unconditionally as we humans possibly can? You bet they do! And so do I!

I’m happy to have gotten to know these guys, and their families. Between the three of us, we sure have some stories to tell when it comes to our kids!

All our kids are “special” in different ways, and we all need the love and support of friends and family. Which pretty much is the same for all parents. No matter if your child is on the autism spectrum, in prison, or “normal” (whatever that means). It takes a village.

Don’t you see that children (ALL children) are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Psalm 127:3

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