Often my boyfriend or friend will ask me how work went and what I did with my client that day. The main kid I work with is severely autistic so most days are difficult compared to my other clients. So when I tell them about our time together they always say “oh that’s rough” or “I’m sorry you had a bad day”.
The thing is, I don’t look at it like that for many reasons…
First of all, growing up with a brother with autism I have learned that you cannot compare someone to the rest of society. What they can accomplish with what they have been given and how they do compared to themselves alone is how it needs to be looked at. Every child has their unique talents and strengths and you can’t just right that off because they aren’t like everyone else.
Secondly, my client may be screaming for over half the session and be just completely disregulated (unable to concentrate, unfocused, over/under stimulated, upset or angry) but if we compare that to how bad it could actually be, then it might be a terrific day.
This line of work and living with autism can be hard and extremely challenging from time to time or even on most days, but you have to look at it with a less critical eye. If you just look at them and say “you’re not normal” or “you’re not how you should be” then you are going to get no where with them and just turn a blind eye to the extraordinary that lies inside them. Yes if you compare them to a typical child it may look bleak, but they aren’t typical, they are extremely special and should be cherished as such.
It’s not about what you can’t do, what you can! And that aspect alone is amazing. It brings me such joy to recognize these triumphs. I told my kid the other day that he had to eat something aside from chips and icecream and that he needed to eat some protein, what he did next just amazed me. He went to the fridge and handed me some hot dogs. To those of you who don’t experience special needs on a day to day basis, this is something amazing and I was so proud of him.
Now if I compared this to a typical child I might get frustrated or angry at this because it’s not all that special comparing it to little Sally getting an “a” on her spelling test. But the thing is is that it is in fact a huge triumph and it gives us hope that they will be ever learning and ever growing.
And below is an example of how someone has accepted their abilities that they have been given, and has made something extraordinary out of it.