Timeout Tuesday

Our autism journey

Owen isn’t awake yet and I’m sitting in the dark. The kitchen light is on, but the living room sits bathed in darkness, with only the glow from the other room. I quietly await the running of feet on the wood floors. I can’t make myself turn “onT” the light. I’m not ready for the brightness yet. I think about the lights and patterns Owen loves to find, and we aren’t so different. I think back to yesterday when he wanted the lights “offT”. He danced with delight. He sang and most of all he processed. Today, I’m processing. I can turn the light on either, he got a timeout, maybe I should too. Learning why we do things is helping me. I think back and wonder, at the time why was it so important the light was on. I was doing things, I needed the light on, but really, did it matter. Communication is so hard for Owen. It takes all he can, to say what he can say. These are all victories. He can’t explain why the light being off was so important to him and I couldn’t explain why it being on was so important to me. We both only needed what we needed at the time. The emotions of autism come tumbling at me like the biggest waterfall, letting go of tiny droplets into a pool of murky water, that sometimes becomes crystal clear, and most of the times that happens when I hear his words “I wuv ewe”. I get snapped back to reality when I hear any of his words, because I know how hard they are for him to produce, to process, to share. He held his tablet out to me, that generally means two things; an app isn’t working right or he wants me to help him with the voice activated control. He had a look on his face, and the struggle of words to come out. He said, da heee on da dkskf round round round”. My mind went blank. I crouched on the floor, he sat. I knew if I didn’t get this right his face told me he would have a meltdown. I focused on the words I could understand and I said them, “round and round”. It didn’t register what they were. I sang that song every day for over a year, fifty times a day and it didn’t register. The Wheels on the Bus sprang up on his tablet and he ran off smiling. Communication, every word, every single word is important to him, to us. In life, sometimes listening is hard, and talking is easier, but there is a balance. Find your words, share your story. It is important. Smiles to all and donut daze!

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