There are five children in our family ranging in age from 4 to 15. You can imagine that our “summer normal” is quite different from our “school year normal”.
Summer normal around here means a full house (when one or more aren’t gone to camp), late nights at the ballpark, and thankfully, much more relaxed late mornings. It takes a lot to get accustomed to even for the neurotypical person. Throw in the Ben factor, autism, and you’ve got the makings for a classic meltdown.
Thankfully, we don’t see meltdowns every day, but they do come from time to time and they are heart-wrenching. But then there are days that everything clicks, all the connections are made and by golly, we have a really good day, all day long. We have conversations. They may only be two or three exchanges long, but they are real conversations with questions asked and answered. We have togetherness. We have eye contact and we see hugs shared among siblings simply because the emotion is there and not because it is required with an apology. We see toys being played with the way they are intended and games being played together. And we hear requests for a story to be read. Of course, all these are “normal” things, but when you live on the spectrum, these basic ordinary events become the extraordinary.
On the spectrum, the little things are never little, the smallest milestones are celebrated, the ordinary becomes the extraordinary, and we are just thankful for progress, not perfection. It’s not easy. There are many difficult days, but then again, it’s sure not a bad place to be, either. In fact, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.