Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brother Seth



My son has a keen eye.

"Mom. I think so & so has autism," he says, on our way home from day camp."

"Why is that, Seth?"

"Because he is really smart, and sometimes he has a hard time."

"In what way?"

"Well. He screams when he gets overwhelmed. And he flaps his hands."

It's not the first undiagnosed (or undisclosed) child Seth's radar has gone off for. Like most autism moms, he can spot one a mile away.

I would trust my son's diagnostic skills over those of any pediatrician. After all, he's had a seven year residency and he loves a person with autism. 

Seth gets it. He is kind. He'll go the extra mile to include this boy. I've seen him work. He'll let him have the swing to avoid a meltdown. He'll point out to others how smart this boy is.

In an ideal world, all kids would be appreciated for who and all they are. For now, kids riding under the radar are lucky to have autism sibs floating around in their midst.


Michelle O’Neil has contributed to A Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children with Autism, and Special Gifts: Women Writers on the Heartache, the Happiness and the Hope of Raising a Special Needs Child. Her work has been featured in Literary Mama, The Imperfect Parent, Age of Autism, Cool Cleveland, The Bark's blog, and will also appear later this year in the professional occupational therapy publication Sensory Integration Special Interest Section (SISIS) Quarterly Newsletter. Her daughter Riley, ten, has Asperger's. Michelle blogs at www.fullsoulahead.com.




  1. I think we are all lucky to have autism sibs floating around! Our "special" children have so much to teach us, don't they?

  2. I trust his diagnostic skills, too. And I would much rather have the news delivered from HIM than from some "expert".

  3. Such gifts! These kids are growing up wise and compassionate and it is amazing to think what they will offer the world.

  4. What a beautiful son you have. Like Kario, I think it will be amazing to see what he and other such aware children will become as adults. On those days when you question yourself as a parent and a human being, I hope you can remember that it is because of you (and HT, of course) that your son is the gifted human being he is.

  5. This is great! Good for him. I know that as a parent I can spot these things now but for your son to be so in tune with it is just remarkable. Good for him and you.

  6. I think one of the steps in the process of diagnosing a child with autism should be putting them in a room with neuro-typical peers and observing what happens. I think a lot of typical kids "get it" though they may not have the words or skills that your son has. I used to notice other children staring intently at my daughter, and these were the days before we knew she was atypical in any way. In retrospect I think they were trying to establish eye contact with her and she was not obliging, so they kept looking at her, increasingly wondering why they couldn't get some joint attention going with this girl (though of course they wouldn't know to call it that), until finally they would turn away, either distracted or discouraged. Many children, properly supported, can be great helps to children with autism. Siblings get extra practice. I hope my two typicals will be as understanding and insightful as your Seth is.

  7. Yeah! Seth rocks! :)
    Awesome post. Thanks for sharing Seth with us for a few minutes...

  8. What a wonder this boy is. Much like his mom.

  9. So true about the sibs. *sigh* Aidan does that too.