by Denise Jansen
Raising a son with autism certainly has its challenges. I dove right into this world to help my son as much as I could, but a lot of the time I get caught up in so many things, always thinking and problem solving. That’s usually the time when Luke will surprise me the most and stop me in my tracks. Luke is non-verbal and is learning to use his iPad to communicate, but it’s been very difficult to get him to use it.
He loves sushi and wants to eat it all the time (sushi for him is teriyaki chicken). So the other day, I dragged Luke around with me to do all my errands, in and out of the car, going here, going there. I knew he was grumpy and bored, but I had to get things done. We just happened to walk past a sushi place and Luke put the brakes on and really, really wanted to go in. I said no because I was in my errands-mode, but the look on his face just told me to say yes.
Well, it was like winning the lottery. He was jumping up and down, shining with delight, smiling and looked me right in the eye giving me a big kiss and a hug! Now how can I refuse that, even though it was only 4pm? We went in, and I can’t remember the last time I was able to enjoy myself without thinking. It was fantastic! Autism? I don’t think anyone would have guessed otherwise. His behavior was appropriate and I sat there in awe as I was sipping my green tea.
He finished all his food, and then just before leaving, he typed on his iPad for the first time a sentence, “glad we came.” It brought tears to my eyes. We then went home, had a great evening, and he slept through the night.
I got to thinking in my bed that that was all he needed, but it was also exactly what I needed. It was if he was saying, “Mom, just chill out and take a load off, let’s just enjoy ourselves together.”