Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rain..rain..feel free to stay..

I love the rain...

As I watched my little wonder boy lay in front of the furnace vent and gaze out the window at the endless rain falling I realized he is seeing his world this morning much the same as he has since his life began. He was peaceful, still waking up, and the dancing drops as the unbroken light rain gathered forces and dripped off the rooftop must have captured his attention completely, much as I recall being mesmerized by the rain as a child. The brightly lit droplets joining together on the end of the branch hanging just outside the glass were hypnotic.. and the option of refocusing the eyes to the waiting puddle below, infinite splashes contributing to its size, made for more visual stimulation than any small child could ever hope for first thing in the morning.

As I gazed upon my wonder boy gazing upon the simple force of nature we call rain I realized that it is my perception of the world that has shifted, albeit ever so slightly. Yesterday I had an uncommon opportunity to meet with Will's teacher. She and I had talked about how I would cherish the chance to watch him in his classroom environment.. his interaction with the other children.. his level of participation.. and distraction. But other obligations had held this experience from me. This amazing woman then told me she had made a video tape of Will in class and extended an invitation to meet with me at the school to view it. On that brief 30 minute recording I saw a happy little boy, struggling to be part of the group, willing his own instinctive behavior into submission so that he could participate in these beloved activities. I saw a child who was taking it all in, organizing every detail into its appropriate place, sure to be drawn upon in a future need. I saw a child who seemed more aware of his enormous challenge than even I. But most importantly, I saw a child who was clearly autistic.

It's been years since our family began this journey of discovery with our son. That journey has led us to knowledge and understanding, to grief and pain, to acceptance and fortitude. But observing him there, in his own separate world, working through it all under the talented guidance of these skilled artists, was like being hit by a freight train. I awoke from my denial in that brief time and came to see that even though he does not display many of the "classic" behaviors so commonly associated with autism, many of his behaviors fit the mold perfectly. And like the many variations in the dance playing out just beyond the window pane this morning there are equally as many variations in the children we label as autistic.. yet they are all amazing.

No comments: