By Christine Denise
Autism Mom and Contributing Writer for As You Are, a virtual clinic dramatically increasing access to early autism diagnostic services through the use of exclusively telehealth appointments
You are the only kid I know who is the most popular kid in school even though you’ve never said a word.
Every time I bring you there, or pick you up, everyone we pass knows your name – whether they are students, staff, school bus drivers or even some parents.
I’ve never told them your name, and they don’t know mine.
That’s OK, I’m fine with being known only as “Louie’s Mom.”
You just went to summer camp for one day with your older brothers, and the same thing happened.
All of the counselors knew your name – but didn’t all know the names of your verbal brothers.
Your presence brings a smile to everyone’s faces when they see you.
Many of them feel compelled to tell me stories about your fleeting moments of progress.
Like the time you sat for more than five minutes on the carpet during circle time in class in second grade.
Or the time you kept your pullup dry in first grade.
Love Without Words
Your presence brings a smile to my face, too.
Every day you squeeze me with all your might and pull me as close to you as possible to tell me you love me without saying a word.
When you do say something, or do something on your own, the smile on my face couldn’t beam any brighter.
Like when you said “Good” spontaneously one day after I asked you how your day went.
Or the time you took your shorts out of my hands as I reached down to put them on you and you put them on yourself.
Or the time you used a fork to eat a whole meal with minimal hand-over-hand guidance from me or your father when you were 8 years old.
But beneath my smile is a lurking fear for your future that your father and I carry with us always.
You see, one day, we won’t be here to protect you, to guide you and to love you.
And nothing scares us more.
It is important that you know what a challenge you have ahead, when life forces you to be on your own, without us.
For now, we are drawing strength from those encounters we have at your school, or at camp or wherever you seem to go and everyone seems to know your name and smile when they see you.
You see, those moments when we see you stand out without us having done anything to make you stand out give us hope that you will always be the most popular guy no matter where you are.
That you will always stand out.
That your moments of independence will increase as time goes on.
And that you will always make others smile.
Even if you are never able to say a word.
Do you have questions about your child’s development? The team at As You Are provides useful autism screening and diagnostic evaluations for kids 16 months to 10 years old via telehealth appointments.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This is a sponsored blog post, but all opinions are my own.