I believe in fostering independence. It doesn’t matter what the disability or the diagnosis may be, independence matters. It gives the child a sense of accomplishment, self worth and it allows them a sense of responsibility and belonging in the family. It makes them part of a greater good.
Not everyone can do everything but everyone can do something important.
It was breakfast time in my house and my oldest boy asked to help with breakfast. I had already muddled my way through TRYING to fix my grandmother’s biscuit recipe…the one that is not written down, the one with no directions, the one I am expected to “eye.” It’s not an easy recipe so I practice. And, because we are from the South, we eat grits for breakfast (butter and sugar if you’re curious because everyone eats them differently) too and those were just getting going along with the bacon.
My Boy: “Can I help you make breakfast mom?”
Mom: “Sure. How about grits duty? You can stir.”
My Boy: “Great.”
A few minutes go by and I am setting the table, about six feet away from him, when I hear him use a stern voice at no one in particular because no one else is in the kitchen but he and I. He knows better than to use that tone with me. He is still standing by the stove.
Mom: “Hey, you okay?”
My Boy: “No, I’m not okay. Those grits spit at me.” And, after a minute of quiet, he asks, “Do I spit back?”
And these are the moments when autism makes my jaw drop because I know he is serious about it. I know he is ready to spit. I know I have to explain, explicitly, why we do not spit at the food and give in to our impulse.
Mom: I assured him, “We do NOT spit back at the food. Ever. Not even when the grits are spitting at us.”
And he didn’t like the answer but he did not spit because, as he learned, we never EVER spit at the food. E-V-E-R.