My son went the other day to Explorer Scouts. A friend invited him, and so I took him on a Saturday afternoon and left him to it without worrying about what the 15 or so kids in his group could say about his autistic quirkiness, if anything.
Three hours later, I went back and my 12-year-old looked happy.
“How was it?”
He then showed me a drawing he’d made of himself. On it he’d written: “I’m fun and I’m a great surfer.”
I thought, well, it might be a good time to work on his humility.
But I stopped myself. He’s already got enough trouble in life as an autistic, so why make it harder? And it can be even worse for him because of how mild his condition is. He’s autistic, but not autistic enough. At first glance – even at the second and third – it’s hard to notice his autism. Parents question the veracity of his diagnosis, so too some specialists. My wife and I have learned to just nod our heads and not take notice of the naysayers. Maybe it would be better if he rocked or said outlandish things. Then people would say, “Yeah, he’s autistic.” That’s the problem. You don’t know he is until you get to know him, and then you see that he is. But he’s so close to not being autistic that it’s hard for him to figure out why it’s so difficult to fit in and make friends (he has one).
So in response to his pride, I said, “That’s great.”
And we walked home talking about his time on the pitch playing soccer with all these new kids, and about how he almost scored a goal. “You should have seen me, Dad!”