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April Shaw's son, Deuce, has autism. And because he can get overwhelmed, he does what's known as stimming--he makes repetitive sounds and motions to calm himself down--a lot, the Mobile, AL mom writes in an essay. "Finger-flicking, hand-flapping and squealing. Behavior that makes him appear weird to most people."
That's why, last summer when the boy was 6, she'd take him to the apartment-complex's pool during off-hours. It was cooler then, and she didn't have to deal with other people's remarks, like the man who looked over at his wife and made the universal sign for "crazy" after seeing Deuce.
Then there were other kids, who avoided Deuce or walked away after discovering he was different. One day, though, a little girl swam over to the boy. She peppered him with questions, which he didn't answer. Finally, she asked his mom if her son talked. "No, he doesn't," Shaw answered. "Does he have autism?" the 8-year-old asked.
Stunned, Shaw answered, "Yes, he does."
She fully expected Jade to disappear. Instead, the little girl changed her approach, and told Deuce what to do so they could play together. ("I'll throw the ball and you catch, okay?") They played for 20 minutes, until it was time for her family to leave. It was the first time her son had played with another child.
"Thank God I had sunglasses on because I was a mess. A blubbery, emotional mess at what I’d just witnessed," Shaw writes. She not only got to see her child having fun with another kid, but an 8-year-old reaching out to another.
Read the whole essay below.
"The first year after my son’s autism diagnosis — now five years ago — was by far the hardest. The news hit us like a...Posted by Love What Matters on Thursday, April 7, 2016
"The first year after my son’s autism diagnosis — now five years ago — was by far the hardest. The news hit us like a...
Posted by April Shaw on Wednesday, May 1, 2013
via Love What Matters