My body was feeling so tired today, I love taking naps but since it was so late, I told my husband I just needed to go rest my body, maybe sneak a short nap in. As I laid with my eyes closed, Connor came into my room, he asked if he could ‘see’ mommy, which means stay/visit with me. I said yes. Realizing a nap would definitely not happen at this stage, I began talking to Connor. We spoke of Disneyland, his very favorite subject, we went on every ride within our minds, the exact route/routine when we visit the happiest place. I love doing this with him. There is often so much joy felt when we are physically there, as we speak of, dream of and ‘pretend’ we are there, it often feels as though we were in that moment. Disneyland believe it or not, was one of the ways we made a connection with Connor in those early days of autism. By all accounts, the sights, sounds, physical proximity of others should be an absolute disaster for someone with autism, but not our Connor.
Early on I found anything that offered distraction, swimming, Disneyland or just having fun at home, felt like beneficial therapy, we call/called it ‘happy’ therapy. The more I found a way into his world through ease and fun, the more Connor seemed to want to BE in our world. I had a routine(s) I did with sounds, facial expressions, peek-a-boo and a few other silly things. Things that made Connor laugh at a time that seemed filled with discomfort for him and myself in those very early days. When he laughed, I could see a light at the end of our dark tunnel, I could feel Connor begin to blossom. The more I did this, the more he blossomed, we were creating my own therapy for our son by following how our interactions felt and taking Connor’s lead.
Tonight, as Connor and I spoke of so many things, Connor brought into our conversation, one of my routines I once did a decade ago to make him laugh, to make him smile, to find my way into his world so he would join us in ours. He sparked my memory of this partially and when I tried to remember the entire routine, Connor remembered the whole thing and performed it perfectly for me.
It makes me smile so big because so often, we, parents, teachers, therapists and aides believe this population simply does not hear us, see us, want to be involved with us and yet they hear, see, feel and know everything. This precious boy remembered one of our ‘happy’ therapy routines from a time I did not think he would possibly remember but he did.
Go out and create memories! My LOVE, Tracie and our precious Connor