This post is dedicated to Greyson...
And Parker... everything that matters is.
Below is the talk I would have with my boys when they were old enough to understand, if they didn't have autism... but if they didn't have autism- I never would have know how important it was to have this talk in the first place. Thank you my loves for teaching me what matters.
Have you ever noticed how God made each person so different and unique? He made Daddy really tall, and me really short. And he gave you hair the color of coffee with cream and gave Parker hair that looks like the glowing sun. Jack the dog has a really short nubbin tail and Belle has a long curly one. Each one of us is God's own personal work of art and we are made perfectly, exactly the way we are.
Sometimes people are also the same. Like you and Parker both love cars, swinging and riding in our big red wagon. You both have bright beautiful eyes in a color so pure blue it makes the ocean jealous. The older I get the more I realize that all people are some mixture of the same and different, and we are all God's art.
I want to talk to you about the little boy down the street, Matthew. Matthew is the same as you because he loves swimming, playing outside and watching the movie CARS. What ways have you noticed that Matthew is the same as you?
Matthew is also different from you because he has something called autism. His parents found out when he was two years old because he wasn't yet talking and most kids have learned to talk by the time they turn two. God made Matthew's brain different from yours and mine. He learns differently, plays differently and he isn't able to really speak with his mouth. Matthew goes to a special Teacher called a "Speech Therapist" and he works so hard to hopefully learn to talk one day. Every time you talk to him it helps him understand language better. Even if he doesn't answer, show him things and talk to him. Ask him to play with you. Help protect him from those who are unkind to him. Just like I hope your friends do for you- we all need people to love and help us.
Even though Matthew can't talk with his mouth, he can talk with his eyes and his whole body. When he is happy his eyes shine, he flaps his hands and he jumps up and down over and over again. When he is sad or frustrated he cries or screams or falls onto the ground. Could you imagine how hard it would be to not be able to tell me what you want or need? How would you communicate if you couldn't use any words?
One of the most important things I want you to learn is that different isn't bad or weird. We all have things that we are good at and things that we need help with. We all have things that we are supposed to teach others, and things that we are supposed to learn from them too. Some people are good at math and some people struggle with it. Some people are good at sports while others may be good at art. No one is good or bad at all the things.
Some people get around with a wheel chair and some people use their legs to walk. Some people look big and some people look small. Anytime you have any questions about people that look different from you, you can ask me. Ask me anything. All our life we will be meeting new people- some that are the same as us, and some that are different. Once we really get to know another person we often realize that we are all more the same than different. One thing you always need to understand, is that even though Matthew is a little different than you and can't talk, he still has feelings and has a heart and wants to be loved and cared about just like you do. In that ways we are ALL the same.