April is Autism Awareness Month, and this April I had the opportunity to be part of something special and beautiful. I simply have to share with you all!
On an ordinary day like any other, I took my son in to get a haircut. He’s a big boy now, so he insisted we visit the salon especially for men…”You know Mom, the one with the hot towels & football on the TV!!!”
Smiling to myself, I gave in. As we made our way in to see the stylist, I was also informed that my “baby” wanted me to sit in the waiting room while he got his hair done. A knot in my stomach, I decided to let my “little man” lead the way and reluctantly agreed.
Being left on my own turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The conversation I had in the waiting room that day is one that I will never forget!
A very exuberant young man began talking to me. To an unprepared bystander it may have seemed like he was “talking too much” or “asking inappropriate questions.” He wasn’t being obscene, just very inquisitive….almost childlike.
I watched another bystander walk to the window as if not to be drawn in, while the rest of the crowd sat silently and tapped on their devices.
Not feeling at all as though I was “caught in the crossfire,” I simply laughed and chatted with this young man. Even though many would have felt that this meeting had run a bit long, I tried to build him up in the conversation…sincerely interested in what he had to say.
I was able to learn that the we had a lot in common. The young man was actually turning 30 this year, and was in fact affected with a form of Autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. He seemed a little reluctant to share this with me until I told him that I too had a son half his age with another form of ASD, in his case non-verbal.
Looking sad, his voice dropped and the young man asked, “Do you think your son would like a friend like me? Almost nobody ever does.”
Taking a moment to think before responding to my newfound friend, I told him, “Well I can see that you are an excellent speaker, and my son is the very best listener, so YES, I think you two would make great friends!” The young man suddenly became quiet and grinned from ear to ear. I could tell that those simple words really struck home for him.
About that time, my son came strutting out freshly groomed. Upon leaving the waiting area, I realized how one sweet and honest comment from a complete stranger may have changed that young man’s life forever…I know it did mine!
April is Autism Awareness Month. Whether you decide to wear an awareness T-shirt, “Light It Up Blue”, or simply speak to someone that may be a little different than you…always remember that small miracles happen every day, and everyone contributes in their own way!
Written by: Jamiee’
P.S. If you’d like to get a glimpse inside of the mind of a person with Autism, check out this beautiful poem written by a child after being diagnosed.