The other day, Little Man told me an idea he had for school. He was going to talk to the principal about it as soon as he worked out some things in his head. What was his idea? His idea was to have all the autistic kids at the school have lunch together in the MPR on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I didn’t think to ask the why behind it. He had an idea. He was advocating for himself and other autistic kids.
He’s been eating lunch in the MPR (multi-purpose room), as opposed to the lunch tables, nearly all year. The lunch tables are crowded and noisy, outside underneath a metal roof. For a child who is overly-sensitive to noise, it’s overwhelming. I can’t keep my train of thought when I walk through that area during the kids’ lunch time. He had stopped eating lunch at all, and one of his excuses was having to sit at the lunch tables in the midst of all that noise. When he brought up his idea of having all the autistic kids eat in the MPR three days a week, I thought he was just thinking they would like the quiet he seeks.
It took me a few days to even ask him the why behind it. He matter-of-factly explained he didn’t know the other autistic kids, and he wanted to know them. He wants to know kids who are like him. How normal is that? Don’t we all seek out people who are “like us” in some way? We are comfortable when we know other people think like us, act like us, see life the same way. That is what he’s seeking out. Carry on, sweet boy, carry on.
My bestie was here visiting last week with her family One of her daughters has the same diagnosis as Little Man, AND they are very similar in their needs, issues, processing. They clicked instantly and were inseparable. When I found them upstairs playing the Wii when all the other kids in the house were engaged with the XBox or a movie, and I said to them, “How did I know I would find the two of you up here together?” he responded, “Because we’re Poke(mon) buddies. Drrrrrr.” It did my heart good to see him happy in the company of a peer, someone who just understood him and he, her. He was more relaxed than I’ve seen him in a long time. He didn’t have to work at it. He didn’t have to explain himself. She calmly accepted him. She got it. He has already asked when he will be able to see her again. We are working on connecting them via iPhone/iPod, and their DS games.
I believe it is that connection he seeks at school. I hope he gets the chance to find it. We all need to make connections, autistic or whatever. I’ll do whatever I can to help him achieve that.