One of the biggest challenges as a parent of a child with autism is communication. Watching her struggle to get her needs met, struggle to make sense of what is being asked of her, struggle to connect. Thankfully this past year, the work we've done and her growth through speech therapy has seen great strides in these areas. She's much more able to ask for what she wants, tell us what she doesn't want, and can even carry on some conversations. I know many autism families who don't have even that.
Social communication is even more challenging for those on the spectrum. The back and forth of conversation can be overwhelming and intimidating. Social nuances and body language are sometimes completely foreign concepts. For many people on the spectrum social settings are cause for stress, anxiety and complete meltdown. I am thankful that Ruby is also making great strides in how she chooses to interact socially, and reaching out to communicate with friends and family. She is still far behind in learning how to initiate play with her peers, and many times, her frustration comes out in not so pretty ways, like throwing things, or pushing.
In this world we live in, social media and social communication are things that we can't seem to live without. Without the constancy of facebook, how would I know which friends we'll run into at the park, or how would I know I should pick up some milk for my best friend while I'm out at trader joes? What would it be like not to know what was going on with those you know, not to get it, not to feel connected? Can you disconnect from your social networks for one day?
I'm going to try and find out. Just a touch, just a taste, just one day. For this day, I will instead of finding out what you're doing every 45 minutes, I'll be checking in more deeply with my most beloved. I'll connect with her needs, her desires, her joys, her triumphs. Instead of posting pictures of what she's doing I'm just going to enjoy her.