November 11, 2010
Guest Blogger Thursday
Through my Thursday posts I’d like to provide a more widespread forum for parents, family members, and practitioners of children with disabilities to provide practical tips for parents, as well as a place to share their views on raising a child with a disability. These contributions will be their ideas and stories, and not necessarily reflect the sentiments of those of autismmommytherapist
Today’s guest blogger is my mom, Susan Preston. Welcome!
Happy Thanksgiving 2010
As grandparents of children on the spectrum, many thoughts come to mind regarding the meaning of Thanksgiving and family. We have much to be grateful for this year, and want this to be a special day for everyone. The gratitude part is the easiest. Justin is in a new school that adores him and is being recognized and respected for all that he is. They are challenging Justin to be all that he can be—not just a child with autism, but a person with many talents and gifts. In the past year Justin has said some word approximations spontaneously, and with encouragement, attempted others. His affection for his family is strong, and he takes delight in his little brother Zach’s humor and game playing activities—Justin even joins in! When he approaches other children on the playground to play with them—what a gift that has been to see!
As for Zach, he is just too much fun! His language is amazing, never failing to impress all of us. Just the other day he heard my voice when I arrived at the house and came running, calling my name with enthusiasm several times, throwing his arms around me and telling me he missed me! How lucky am I?
And I love Zach’s relationship with Justin. Zach really seems to understand who Justin is and gets him. Ask Zach who his best friend is and he will name Justin, of course, and give you a look of disbelief that you don’t know that! He is so compassionate towards others and sensitive to peoples’ feelings. Playing make-believe with Zach is so delightful. He recently ran out of his gluten/casein free brownies that I make for him, so he was overheard on the play telephone calling Grandma and asking for “more please!” He truly is one of the most polite kids I have ever known. And watching him play soccer this fall was an event that will be hard to match for enjoyment! Both of the boys are so happy and evolving as people—they are so much more than their diagnosis.
In thinking about how to make this a special day and event at our house this year, we have talked about how to make it fun and stress free for the boys and their parents. We know that we can put away things that might be too intriguing or hurtful for little boys – out of sight and out of mind! A couple of new toys for each can help keep them entertained when we are not eating. We can have the right snacks for both to enjoy, foods on the table at dinner that both can eat (and that their parents don’t have to provide), and plan dinner around their schedules. We can coordinate who does what so that supervision of the boys is not just mama and dada’s responsibility—how nice it would be for mom and dad to just sit at a table with adults and eat an entire meal without interruption! And most importantly, we can let mom and dad know that everyone who is sharing our day is so happy that all four of them are there with us. We are so thankful to be with each other. So if there is a little “kink” in the day, no big deal.
All kids have good and bad days. That’s to be expected and understood.
Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, family and love. And in this family, this year, our cup runneth over.