So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

He tells me he needs some fresh air so he is going outside. I watch him cross the street to where neighbor boys are playing. I hear his high-pitched, volume-heavy greeting. I watch as the boys turn from him and start walking toward their house.

He keeps following them, continuing to talk, trying to step in front of them as if to say See me. Notice me.

Instead they keep walking away, saying over their shoulders, “Go home. You can’t play with us. We don’t want you here.”

*        *        *

It’s difficult for him at the swimming pool. It is loud and hot and people are splashing. Groups of kids mill about and he follows them, interrupting their conversations. He talks loudly over them as if to say, Hear me. Listen to me.

Instead they laugh at him, and one boy gets in his face saying, “What, I can’t hear you? Why don’t you talk louder.”

*       *        *

I’m standing in line waiting to rent the stack of movies and video games the boys collected. He is waiting by the door to greet people and tell them the new joke he has learned. The door opens and a mother and son walk in. He welcomes them and quickly launches into his joke seeming to say, Understand me. Appreciate me.

 The son hesitates, but the mom doesn’t even look his way and continues in the store as if she didn’t even hear him.

*        *        *

I am monitoring students in the junior high wing of the school when he comes to find me for a good morning hug and kiss. As he rounds the corner and sees the students gathered in the common area he tosses out a happy, sing-songy greeting to all of them. He looks around as if to say, You know me. You know I’m okay. 

And so they say, “Hey, good morning Slim. Have a great day. High five, man!” He slaps their outstretched hands to and from giving me a hug and kiss, unaware that he is “supposed to be embarrassed” or act cool.

*        *       *

He is the face of our autism. Our son – who was always a little quirky, a lot different, and all kinds of interesting – wasn’t diagnosed with autism until he was in fourth grade. My mother’s sixth sense kept telling me that something wasn’t quite right; but no doctor, no educator, no therapist could put their finger on it either.

He’s so smart. They would say.

He’s so friendly. They would observe.

He’s so high-functioning. They would note.

But all of that didn’t make it less true.

I’m new to autism, too, and I recently heard the phrase If you’ve met one person with autism, you know one person with autism.

All this means is that everyone who has a diagnosis of autism is as different and unique as everyone else without autism. And different and unique can be off-putting no matter who you are.

Everyone is aware autism exists, but not everyone knows what to expect from it. Not everyone knows what people with autism will look like, act like, sound like, and be like.

 April is Autism Awareness Month; though last year there was a backlash from people wanting to call it “Autism Acceptance Month.” I admit I jumped on that bandwagon, Yes, accept my child with autism.

 But I think it’s impossible to have autism acceptance without continuing autism awareness as well.

As different as all people are, I’ve noticed one underlying theme in their treatment of my son with autism: either they “get it” or they don’t. He has been in school with the same kids since kindergarten, and there are some kids who have always been nice to him. I’m sure there are some kids whom he drives absolutely nuts.

There are strangers he talks to – children as well as adults – who think he’s delightful, and some who think he’s just weird. I realize that this is simply human nature. I also realize that we can’t change the way people think about something without changing the inherent dialog about it.

How can we accept something if we don’t know everything there is to know about it? How can we accept something that looks different every time we see it? How can we accept something that makes us uncomfortable? How can we accept something that we can just ignore because it doesn’t affect us?

This is why autism acceptance is so difficult. It’s so easy to continue to be unaware, to look for the traits we think a person is supposed to have, and overlook what about their autism makes them special and unique and so incredibly amazing.

Yes, we still need autism awareness   www.herviewfromhome.com

 To learn more about autism, visit: www.autismspeaks.org and pledge to wear blue on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2nd.

Kathy Glow

Kathy Glow is a wife and mom to four lively boys and one beautiful angel in Heaven, lost to cancer. Most days you can find her under a pile of laundry ordering take-out. When she is not driving all over town in her mini-van or wiping “boy stuff” off the walls, she is writing about what life is REALLY like after all your dreams come true. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Good Housekeeping, and Mamalode; but Her View From Home is her favorite place to be. Her blog is at www.lifewiththefrog.com. You can follow her on Facebook at Kissing the Frog.

Dear Kindergarten Teacher, I’m Giving You My Baby

In: Kids
newborn baby swaddled and sleeping

I just dropped my daughter off for her first day of kindergarten, and you couldn’t have been more wonderful. You caught her eye from across the playground and immediately waved. You greeted her by name with a warm smile, and you were totally OK (encouraging, even) with me hanging around for a while before actually leaving her. You looked me in the eye, smiled and greeted me happily, and pretended not to notice when I started tearing up while introducing myself. (Thank you for that.) My daughter was the first of your students to arrive, and you chatted with her...

Keep Reading

Childhood Is Messy with Imagination and I Want to Remember It All

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toys on bedroom floor

Sometimes I take random photos on my phone of my son’s bedroom or what he has built with his LEGOs. I do this because I know how quickly things change while he is this young. What he builds with LEGOs is always evolving, becoming more intricate and sophisticated. When I look around his room and see everything that is there, it’s like a snapshot of the season we are in. And all I want to do is capture each season. Capture what life looks like for us, for him. I envision showing him these photos when he is grown, maybe...

Keep Reading

God Bless the Middle School Teachers Who Love Our Tweens and Teens

In: Kids, Teen, Tween
Middle school students smiling

I keep seeing articles about kindergartners heading off to school for the first time, and parents are feeling all the things kindergarten parents feel. I’ve been a middle school teacher for my entire career, and I know for sure that middle school parents are feeling all the feelings too. We teachers are ready to receive your babies in middle school too. In our neck of the woods, middle school starts in sixth grade. Fifth graders were at the top of the pyramid in elementary school, but they arrive in middle school as the little ones. In the eyes of the...

Keep Reading

6 Things the Parent of a Child With Medical Needs Learns

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child holding baby doll

My 9-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a few months before her 2nd birthday. She uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to watch her blood glucose levels and a pump that administers insulin. Before these amazing pieces of medical technology, we were pricking her fingers up to 10 times a day and giving insulin injections at about the same rate—ouch! There are many parents out there with children with special medical needs. One mom I know has to give her autistic son enemas every day because of digestive issues. Another mom has a child with highly specialized dietary...

Keep Reading

As Another School Year Begins, Remember Mama: You Know Your Child Best

In: Kids, Motherhood
little girl holding a first day of kindergarten sign

Dear mom buying school supplies and feeling overwhelmed, Stop and pray. Ask God to help you envision each child as the young adult they can be. Write out your goals for that child . . . fair warning, there will likely be very little academic success in your goals. You may even have to go back and write those in. Take a deep breath. Keep this list of goals nearby. Go back and read them when the world is telling you your child doesn’t stack up somewhere. They aren’t reading as fast, they’re not “getting” math, their handwriting is wonky,...

Keep Reading

Every Time the Doctor Says, “It’s a Girl!” My Heart Grows a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sisters sitting on park bench

When I’m in the grocery store with my girls, I always get comments. My oldest girls are walking near the cart with my two-year-old running up and down the aisles. “Three little girls! Wow! God bless you, Momma!” Then they look in my cart and see the car seat holding my nine-month-old. “Is that a baby boy in there?” “No, another girl!” I reply. I get a variety of responses when people realize I have four girls under the age of seven. “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!” “Going to try for a boy?” “You are truly blessed—your girls are...

Keep Reading

Raising a Child with a Severe Food Allergy Affects the Whole Family

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy looking at ice cream cone

I saw something recently that said, “It’s National Ice Cream Day today!” and I cannot stop thinking about it. Now I know that sounds silly, but as a mom of a child with a severe dairy (and egg) allergy, I must admit at times it makes me sad (and more often jealous if I’m being completely honest) when I know my son is going to miss out on another fun or “normal” thing that other kids his age are experiencing, like actual ice cream and ice cream parties. If I continue to be honest, I get jealous when I see...

Keep Reading

So You’re Not the Fun Parent…So What?

In: Kids, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman reading book while two play in background

I’m not the fun parent in our household. Of course, this comes as no surprise to me but it still stung when my 8-year-old said to me rather bluntly the other night, “Daddy’s way more fun than you.” And while the rational part of my brain knows better than to take this kind of comment to heart, my super-sensitive, highly emotional primitive brain did the exact opposite and ran with it.  Daddy is the more fun parent. I’m the stricter, more rigid, and more uptight parent. I’m not the type of parent who, in the spur of the moment, will...

Keep Reading

Mine Is the Shy Kid

In: Kids
Girl sitting on side of playground

I’m the mom of one really shy child. But not your quintessential shy kid. I don’t mean she is “slow to warm up,” because my daughter might not warm up at all. And I don’t mean that she’s only shy until she gets to know you. There are friends and family members she still hides from or won’t talk to. What I mean is my almost-4-year-old struggles so much with her shyness that it’s hard for her to interact with most people. Especially her peers. I’ve Googled more than you could ever imagine about this topic: How shy is too...

Keep Reading

In This Magical Place Called Kindergarten

In: Kids
Kids at elementary school circle time

It’s hard to put into words what happens in a classroom in the course of a year. Especially a kindergarten classroom. For many children, this is their first experience away from home, from their place of comfort and security—the place where they can always be themselves. But teachers are a special breed—especially teachers of littles. And they step into this substitute role with the biggest hearts and the most love to give. They take this unknown, intimidating place and then transform it into a magical, wondrous adventure. A classroom, a community, a family. A place where these little people can...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.