Monday, January 10, 2011
There is no better sound in this world than the sweet, endearing giggle of a beloved child. It is music to the soul, and the melody brings smiles to the witnesses, and warmth to their hearts. Presley is just starting to really "belly laugh." It's wonderful. Kaylin is a barrel of laughs, always being over the top and dramatic about everything, usually laughing at her own stunts and describing herself as "oh so funny."
Avery on the other hand, has a different kind of laughter, and given that her perceptions are so drastically different than ours, we tend not to be "in on the joke"... but we are eternally grateful for the experience. Avery LOVES "Go Diego Go," and particularly loves the episodes that have some sort of flapping/flying bird... birds always get her laughing, she also LOVES to swing and climb, and does so with a giggle and a smile, which makes OT worth every penny as she learns to motor plan, and have better balance and coordination. She also get's a kick out of physical "rough and tumble" play. Her dad is the master of inspiring an Avery cackle.
Having a child with Autism tends to strip the fun out of some types of ordinary family activities. Going out is more challenging, and until you've been there you really have no idea how much so.... so most of our miraculous and precious moments are within the walls of our home.... where our "normal" exists, and where no one judges, stares, expects or requests us to be anything other than who we are.
Avery doesn't use words. She doesn't seem to understand most of what is going on around or even within her, and isn't yet very responsive to verbal language.... yet I assure you, she is communicating all of the time. If you take time to know her, you would see that she exudes happiness, and certainly has lots of preferences and favorites. I read a blog today that talked about how easy it can be to almost forget our kids who don't talk and don't seem to understand are even... there. We talk about them in front of them, and assume they are as clueless as they appear. But they aren't. Time and time again I hear about older kids with Autism being able to describe their experience... and we forget that just like all kids, our little ones with Autism, like all humans, want to connect. They just lack the skills to know how. It's our job to help them. To be their voice when they haven't found theirs yet, and to guide them through the confusing and complex world that overstimulates their disabled central nervous system. It's OUR job to interpret the laughter. To USE the happy, albeit very few moments when they connect to us, even for an instant, to build on and bring them closer. To meet them at their level, and let go of expectations and simply giggle with them.
So today I am grateful for one of the things my precious 4 year old with Autism CAN do. She can laugh. She can lift my sorrow and she can STILL light up a room. They may be a few of you who would look at her with questioning eyes as she chuckles and shrieks with merriment at seemingly nothing... but I invite you to be in on the joke. Life is grand. Isn't it amazing that my precious, disabled daughter can find so much joy and hilarity in the simple things.