Having an autistic child is not the end of the world--far from it. It is my hope that through this blog, at least a handful of people will get to understand that. My child is amazing, she brings us tremendous joy. We have good days & bad days, but we CHOOSE to focus on the good. Our belief is that by loving our daughter, giving her the most comfortable environment we can, and by most of all accepting her differences, she will continue to blossom--in her OWN way.

1/22/08

My Autism Everyday: The Vast Reality of Waiting Rooms

PhotobucketSitting in a doctor's waiting room can be difficult for any child. A child who has anxiety, sensory issues, and generally dislikes the medical community (too many pokes!), it can be a really unbearable time. We overcome this by packing up some toys, a drink, and by simply hoping the wait isn't too long. Sometimes my daughter likes to be held, or rocked, or bounced. Other times, she just wants to sit by herself. We had to make an unexpected trip to the doctor's office last night. Thank goodness for evening hours, as emergency rooms are, by far, the worst of the worst sensory assaults.

It was a great relief when we walked into the office, and my daughter didn't start crying. She seemed okay with it. Greater relief came when I saw Toy Story 2 playing on the TV, and that the waiting room was empty. We sat there, watching the movie. She was next to me, curled up. Then she sat on my lap. We rocked, side to side and then back and forth. Little by little, more people walked into the office. Little girls, little boys, lots of sniffles. No one was being called in, the clock passed time away. A woman and her son walked into the waiting room, they had already been seen. A minute or so passed, and I realized this boy was autistic. He was making very loud vocalizations, flapping his arm up and down, and fidgeting with his pockets. He was coughing too.

The mom and I smiled at one another. Her son was very cute. I realized she didn't speak much English, so I didn't attempt any conversation. As the minutes passed by, and our wait was prolonged, I observed this mother and son. I smiled when I saw him caressing and playing with her hair, the same way my daughter often does to mine. Each time the boy coughed, the mom lovingly rubbed his back. At one point, he put his arm around his mom. When he became agitated, either because of the wait, or because he didn't feel good, or simply because he was child, his mom placed him in her lap. They too rocked and snuggled.

So, there it was. My daughter and I, rocking, snuggling, smiling. This mother and her son, rocking, snuggling, smiling. Autism and all...rocking, snuggling, and smiling.

Granted, this whole scenario could have gone rather differently. We have had plenty of those waiting room moments. But I find it increasingly important to let the world know that the reality of our lives include these peaceful, very typical moments. I am not unique. The other families I know are not unique. Our vast reality with autism is not at all that different than anyone else's journey. Once parents recognize, and society sees, the similarities between themselves and autistic individuals, only then can real change occur. Simply see your fellow human being as just that: human. From that point, and only that point, move forward and then do something for and with the autistic community.

2 comments:

kristina said...

This brings back so many memories of "waiting rooms we have waited in"---Charlie does not have so many appointments any more but those little moments of community with other moms and kids always helped me through.

Marla said...

I really like your last paragraph. So true. Our daughter does quite well in the offices. Probably from way too much practice. Bummer.