Sometimes we parents with special needs children go along and don’t realize how different our lives are. I was reminded recently when Rebecca mentioned to some of her friends that she was caring for a special needs girl. She told her fellow students that working as a caregiver was a very good part time job that she could continue to do while in med school and recommended it for those looking for work. But they were hesitant; they had never been around someone with special needs; they didn’t know if they could do the job. Rebecca was surprised but that’s because being around someone with different needs has always been part of her life.
So today I am sharing just a couple incidents that might help you better understand the uniqueness of life at our house.
The M O V I E
Everybody likes to go to the movies. Right? So does Matthew. But with two distinct differences. The first, you might expect because he has difficulty sharing emotions, is that we do not go to movies that are too intense. Poor Matthew gets so caught up in the movie that if the good guy’s life seems in peril Matthew feels it deep in his soul and doesn’t know how to handle the fear and worry. We always try to have someone preview the movie first. The second thing is actually pretty crazy. There are many movies Matthew doesn’t care to see. But when he decides on one, well that’s the one we have to see first. He doesn’t want to hear about another movie, even though he might like it just as much. It’s first things first. Always. Last year he decided he wanted to see the dumb Smurf movie. And that was it. Even though there were many better movies that he would have liked we had to wait for the Smurfs…which didn’t come out until August.
Actions Have Meaning?
Sometimes when you have a non-verbal child…okay, actually every day…your child does something that catches your eye. You know it has meaning and you just wish you could understand the reason. Here are two examples from our house this week:
Bob and I were sitting at the kitchen table talking about nothing important, Matthew was on his computer and the television was on, maybe Matlock or a commercial. I wasn’t really paying attention. But suddenly, Matthew leaps up from his chair and runs over behind the couch looking directly at the TV. He held a postcard from a steamboat ride we had taken in his hand. He raised his hands up as though he were going to lead the benediction at church and stood there frozen, arms outstretched for nearly a minute. Finally, he pointed the postcard towards the TV, as if to show either the television or maybe Andy Griffith or the boat on the postcard something. And then walked back to his computer as if nothing had happened.
Yesterday, I was walking on the treadmill while Matthew was watching something on TV when a commercial came on. (Commercials are usually his time to find a drink or chips or just generally wander around because they don’t hold his interest.) But this time he jumped up and ran over to the fireplace. He looked up at the photo of Mont St. Michel and raised his hand up toward the sky with finger pointing. Something like a ‘We’re number one’ pose. He stood there again for a few seconds then went and sat back on the couch.
He has never done either of these things. There was a distinct point to his movements but what? We might eventually figure it out. Or not.
Enough for today. I’ve rambled on enough and we’re all good here now–as long as we don’t mention the m o v i e . . .
Oh, and by the way, if your child talks and communicates with you, good or bad, you are fortunate. Just think of me the next time he gives you the ‘What For?’ business and give him a hug.