Us parents of children with special needs can worry a lot about what others think of their childrens' unusual mannerisms and behaviors .
Over time, we develop our coping mechanisms-
We build defences to cope with what we think people are thinking.
Here is how I learned to stop worrying.
Two years ago we were at a friends house for Thanksgiving
One of the guests was a teacher who is a retired Special Needs teacher.
She had worked a lot with Autistic children over the years
We were having a great time at the party and we had brought along our Macbook
R was on the Playhouse Disney Site looking at an " Ooh and Aaah" game
I and the hostess were standing around the kitchen island .
The retired teacher looked at what R was doing and said" he is liking the screen because of all the shaking and the moving images.. Autistic children love things that move"
I looked at her - taken aback
She had just relegated what R is doing to a state of mindlessness
( and he is ever mindful )
I looked at what R was doing and replied
"not at all .. he is playing a game - if you click on the instruments you can make the monkey characters play that instrument .. and you can keep adding different instruments till it turns into an orchestra .. he loves music.. you see "
She looks again at what R is doing and then nods her head- seeing him in a new light
It was an important developmental leap for me to trust our own eyes the most
A friend of mine - Deb - gave me some great advice a little while ago
I was expressing anxiety about going to India
This was 2009- 2 years ago - and the first time we were going to see our family after Autism.
I was worried about having to explain Autism to everybody
But this friend said that the important thing is to look at your child through your own eyes and not as others see him
I have been chewing over this profound thought
And that Thanksgiving I got to put it into practice.
This shift in perspective simply dissipated my anxiety
This perspective is very different than learning how to cope with people's reactions to our kiddos not looking like other kiddos
I knew that always
Followed the principle of - if R was not bothering anyone or hurting himself - he was fine to do what he wanted
Even if that thing was to coo at all aisle numbers, sit down in the birthday aisle, gasping with wonder at all the birthday cards around him that said you are 1 .. you are 4 and so on and so forth
This perspective is about not letting just anybody else's impression of your child influence your opinion of your child
Its about using your own eyes to look at your child and look at your life
Its about being selective about the perspectives and the advice we special needs parents get
It is NOT about about steeling oneself ... learning not to mind .. training oneself to not always be in the mode of correcting your child ( for things that are not even wrong )
This is about not minding at all
I am Floortime Lite Mama and I blog about my life and my amazing autistic son here . This is one of my old favorite posts as the perspective I talked about here has had a big impact on my life.