It’s been a while since my last post…and a very long while with my writing project.
My kids seem to need me more as they grow up, especially on how to survive life in general. So they will always be my top priority, and I’ve put aside my writing for the time being.
Since it’s the end of Autism Awareness Month, I decided to write a post about my son. He’s 10 years old and I have not told him about Autism Spectrum Disorder, or that he has it. I didn’t want Ray to think he was “broken” or “flawed” because of his condition. I only wanted to explain his “uniqueness” to him.
For this school year, Ray must do a book report on different book genres assigned for each month. There is a different theme for each report to make it interesting for the student. For the month of April, the assignment is a trifold book report on a disease that includes information that will teach others about the disease.
I thought this would be a great opportunity to teach Ray about Autism Spectrum Disorders, especially for Autism Awareness Month.
Now just to clarify, ASD is not a disease. It’s a group of developmental disorders that can cause difficulties in communication, socialization, interests and behaviors. The book I used to help Ray with his report is:
The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (and Their Parents) by Elizabeth Verdick & Elizabeth Reeve, M.D.
This was a wonderful book for Ray and I to read together. The book is a guide for kids with ASD and their parents. It gives strategies for communicating, making friends, and succeeding in school. My son struggles with these issues, and he will be able to use this book when he has questions or needs help on a topic like facing challenges, symptom management, social skills, “stims,” handling feelings, how to relax, or resources. The guide was definitely helpful for me to break things down to Ray’s level of understanding. If he receives anything positive about doing a report on this book, I hope he learns that even though he is “different,” he is still “unique.” His diagnosis doesn’t define him. Autism is just a part of him. It’s a his way of being and how he experiences the world. I hope Ray knows that he has the potential to live an awesome life!
Helping my son do the trifold book report on ASD was a terrific learning opportunity for me and Ray. I was able to see how much he’s grown, the improvements he’s made, and the pleasure of understanding this remarkable boy. The experience was enlightening and it inspired my follow-up poem for Black, White, and In-between written last year on the post For Autism Awareness…
I wrote the poem for my son and my original intention was to write a follow-up poem to infuse a sense of hope. I may have gotten sidetracked, but here it is a year later.
Dedicated to Ray
It’s the in-between I view his charm
I see humor
It’s a giggle, a smirk, a glimmer
It’s the in-between I feel his tension
I see fear
It’s a fidget, a stutter, a tear
It’s the in-between I notice his strength
I see endurance
It’s a spark, an excitement, that makes a difference
It’s the in-between I sense him fading
I see frustration
It’s quiet, an absence, no communication
It’s the in-between I recognize potential
I see possibilities
It’s imagination, creativity,
and no limits to his capabilities
It’s not as simple as black or white
But the in-between to shed some light
To love with openness, understanding, and acceptance.
By Lisa Malabanan-Vasquez