When asked about raising a child with autism I usually start off with a funny anecdote. For instance, my 8-year-old son recently asked a hairdresser why she had “teeth like a pioneer woman” as he stared at her crooked, yellow incisors. He said he was just “telling the truth.” As he puts it, “the truth is like TNT in my brain that is exploding to get out!”
I can now laugh at these awkward moments. But several years ago when I first realized my son was “different,” I grieved for the loss of a “normal” parent-child relationship. My son walked on his tiptoes, flapped his hands when he got excited, talked with a high falsetto voice, and had little interest in other children. I wondered how he would ever be a “normal” person. Now that seems silly, because I realize now how mundane and boring “normal” is.
To know my son is to know pure love. He’s excited about everything. His imagination never stops. I shed tears of joy watching him squeal with excitement over fireworks. He spends hours planning elaborate movies and draws pictures of things he wants to invent. In his mind, there are no limits; everything is colorful, exciting, and possible. I just want the world to give him a shot. I know it takes effort to understand him and patience to work with him, but if you take the chance you won’t regret it.
By Tracy Towne, mom of Andrew, 8