It's been a long time since I've written much about Autism or Asperger's.
As the new school year gets underway, my mind heads there again after a relaxing summer with Brennan.
1st day of school last year
Brennan is now in a gifted program at school where he will spend the next 3 years with the same group of kids - which will be helpful.
Because the better someone knows Brennan, the more they appreciate who he is.
Picking apples during Fall Break 2010
There are people who "get" Brennan immediately, and for those people I am so, so thankful.
They spend just a little time with him and come to me with wide eyes telling me how amazing he is.
I just smile and thank them because I know that they see him the way that we do.
As an extremely bright, sweet, polite, mature, loving kid who is going to do great things with his life.
9th birthday party in January 2011
But regularly I am also confronted who those people who don't "get" Brennan and see him as a frustrating, difficult to communicate with boy. I have seen people roll their eyes at him, snap at him, and patronize him. As you can imagine I get really, really upset and seethe at their immature reactions. Brennan misbehaves less than most children his age.
9th birthday, standing by his favorite instrument
While I'm irritated and am dealing (quite honestly) with the shock I feel when someone treats my son this way, Brennan grins and bears it.
And that breaks my heart but I am so proud of him for just maturely "taking it".
Brennan instinctually knows that there are people who don't like him, don't try to like him, and that he'll never connect with because they just don't "get" him.
He understands that, accepts it, and tries again anyway.
And these people, time after time, treat him the same way.
I think it comes down to one word - Patience.
Those who want to see the amazing sides of Brennan, always will.
They will be shocked by how terrific he is, will tell me, will tell their friends, and it'll get back to me.
I love it when that happens because I am so proud of who he is, and autism really doesn't play into that.
18 months old, Mexico
And I keep holding out hope for those who roll their eyes when they think I'm not looking, or snap at him because it takes him longer to process instructions or communicate clearly what he's trying to say.
If they could only employ a little bit more Patience, they could see him for who he really is.
2 years old, Media Luna, Mexico
I spend a lot of time with elementary aged kids.
I know how difficult it can be to connect with any child, but especially those with a special need.
But it's worth it.
And I want to be one of those people who tries just a bit harder to connect.
I never want to make a child feel like he's not important enough to receive my patience.
Young Eagles Program, August 2011
To all those parents out there who model this to their children, I am eternally grateful.
When a child tells me how cool Brennan is, I know that I partly have their parents to thank.
And for all of those who get frustrated and impatient with Brennan, I ask for just a bit more Patience.
I promise, he's worth it.
First day of 4th grade, August 2011