Look at this boy... he's so happy. I love that smile, how he beams from ear to ear with love. You know there are some days when things seem normal around our house. (Ok, maybe not days, but more like moments). Like this morning. I was getting my camera ready to take pictures at a charity event and asked the kids if they wanted to take some pics. Normally JD would say NO WAY or give me a bunch of silly faces, but today he was all grins. Pictures like these remind me how invisible autism can be.
If you saw JD you'd think he was just a normal kid. He has no outward signs of a disability, and we're very fortunate that he has stopped a lot of the outward signs of autism, like stimming or flapping. But inside that brain is a very different world. It's creative and fast, it shoots from one idea to another. It hears every sound, senses every movement and feels every touch in ways us "neurotypical" people don't. How do I know? Just by watching JD interact with the world.
You might not see it, but JD's autism makes him different that the rest. Add in a little, sensory processing disorder (SPD), OCD and some ADHD and things can be a little crazy. But man do I love this kid. He has a heart full to the brim of gold. Sometimes that gold is hard to see... like when he's hitting his siblings or spitting at me when he's mad, but I know it's there. When he turns to me and says, "My mommy - I love you" it makes me melt.
I wasn't sure if there'd be life after autism, but there is. It's changed our lives so much, but it's made me a better person for sure. Tomorrow I'll be spending my day at a huge event - the Autistic & Handicapped Children of Central Florida's 39th Annual Holiday Party. More than 1200 kids with disabilities will be there. And while 3 years ago I would probably have never been involved, today I can say that I brought awareness to more than 100 people in my company through volunteering.
I'm so proud to be a mom of a child on the spectrum. And while some days I really don't want the job (just being honest!) I wouldn't change it for the world. God gave me JD for a reason and whatever it is, I hope I'm living up to His expectations!