My children have a friend who does not play with them.
He comes over with his brother and sister or we go to his house but he doesn’t say much, not to us anyway.
He breezes passed and heads for the toys, grabs one he had his eye on the moment he walked in, and begins lapping the living room.
The kids play together, rocking babies and playing dress up and fashioning pretend meals for us moms but this little guy lays low, or under the table, or behind the chair.
My kids want him to play, we all do, but he just can’t.
We are too loud for him, too unfamiliar, too unpredictable. Maybe our house is too bright or the smells from the kitchen too strong? I’m not sure, he never says.
He paces the floor, telling stories to himself and every once in a while stops at his mom.
He nears her and time and adult conversation stop as she grasps onto whatever piece of him he is willing to give and waits for more.
He is 1 in 100. He and his mom are myself and my daughter, 12 years of autism ago and it is odd to be on the other side.
I don’t know why but it continues to amaze me that autism just keeps on happening, happening so much more than it did fifteen years ago when my daughter was born. What in the world is going on and when is it going to slow down?
I wish I knew.
This little guy is just as amazing and unique and special as every child I have met with autism
but he deserves to play
just like every child I have met without it.
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Galit Breen says
as always, you give me chills with your words and descriptions. Thank you for those. They’re important and necessary, honest and true. Just like you.
I’ve taught children with autism. And yes, you grasp at whatever moment they give. As a parent, that pull to hold on must be overpowering. You capture that here beautifully.
Varda (SquashedMom) says
I read this the first time around and was really touched, but didn’t take the time to stop and comment (probably stealing a moment away from life w/ my autistic son). So thanks for choosing this wonderful post to link up to this weekend.
I wish we had more families like yours to hang out with (wouldn’t consider moving to NYC, would you?) because while I feel Jacob tolerated many places, and accepted in some, he is so openly and lovingly welcomed at very few.
Melissa Taylor says
This is a beautiful post. So sweet. Hopefully he will be able to play too!
Belle's Butterfly says
Such a beautiful post filled with so much emotion. I hope one day, he is able to play. How lucky he is to have friends like you and your children.
Yes it is absolutely ridiculous that autism still happens.
You drove that point home very clearly when you mentioned it was a mirror image of you 12 years ago. That is so terribly sad.
Thank you Jessica for writing about my sweet little Aiden… We are so grateful to have found friends that accept us and enjoy our company like you and your kids do… I wish every Mom with a child with autism was so lucky…
This so reminds me of one of my friend's sons. He is autistic and he is exactly like that. And he will only eat pepperoni pizza, so we always have a pepperoni pizza for him, and he's happy!
OH MY GOSH! I was just having this conversation when I was out to dinner tonight about how autism has become so much more prevalent. I really wonder what is going on here!
You gave me chills with your story. That was such a beautifully honest portrayal.
It is getting totally out of hand how many children are being diagnosed. How funny that you were just talking about it before coming here.
Thanks for taking the time to read.
Megan (Best of Fates says
I'm not sure what to say, so I'm going to go to my default *HUG*
Thanks for the default, sometimes not saying anything is much better than trying to come up with something, although your posts always inspire a comment from me, I will have to work harder at pulling a good comment out of you! I totally appreciate your commenting even when you can't find the words.
Allison Fields says
I love this! You are a great friend and a great mom <3
Awww, well thank you!
And yet it is so great that he has a place to come and be himself and play in his own way. And for his mom to have someone who has been there, who understands without judgement. From you description, this boy could be my son. I wish I had more friends who would invite us all to playdates, even though he doesn't play.
I love that we can be that place for him as I wish we had had that place when my daughter was young too. I really don't even think of it that way though because the friendship with his mom is so easy and all of our kids do so well together. If only we all lived close, we could have a great three year old, autism or no autism playdate!
such a beautiful post – ♥
Sarah Halstead says
Wow. What a post. Have you read Karen Kingsbury? I just read the book Unlocked. It is soooo good and inspiring. It is about an autistic boy. I read it in two days. It is fiction but based on a real boy.
Have never heard of it but now will have to read it, in between all of my blog reading that is!
Making It Work Mom says
But it is so wonderful that your family is there for him and his mom. There when and if he is ready.
We will definitely be there for him and look forward to the day when he is ready for us.
All kids deserve to play. It's so heartbreaking when they can't play with other kids the way we wish they could. But, they have their own special way.
You are totally right, I thought about that while writing this, that even though he doesn't play "our" way that he is still playing and being a little kid in his own way and he is just as happy as he can be.
this is so touching. I have met a few of these lovely little people and Iove them with all my heart. One of them even lets me hold him occassionally and it make my heart soar!
I know exactly what you mean, it is so nice when someone with autism reaches out for you because you know just how hard that is for them.
Jessica – I love this!
Thanks Holly, this little guy is such a miniature version of your Ryan.
aww 🙁 i hope he does soon one day!
Such an insightful, emotional blog. They are all beautiful children, in one way or another, but you are right, he DOES deserve to play.
Yes he does, one of these days he will and we will be waiting.
what a beautiful post….and i am always shocked to hear someone else describe my son to a tee…it's why i read blogs, it reminds me we're not alone…
I am so glad this made you feel less alone, that is the best compliment I could have received.