Thursday, November 1, 2012

What You Can Learn From My AS Daughter

  What You Can Learn From 
My AS Daughter
Tricia Johnson
 Freelance Writer/Home-school Mom

  • To have grace and patience.  What a blessing people are when they simply accept my daughter for who she is and not put the usual social expectations upon her!  What a blessing when people don't pressure her to do things she's uncomfortable with just because there is some expected response to a given situation.  She is very adept at picking out those people who aren't labeling her or putting unreasonable expectations upon her. She trusts them and it shows.  Now, after observing her interactions with people, I have come to trust her judgment when it comes to other people.  If she doesn’t trust them, neither do I and I support her withdrawal from them.  I can't explain it, but we can learn patience and grace from it.  I trust her judgment far more than I trust yours.
  • To listen.  Listening is vital to an ASD child and I have learned to listen. I listen as though Mickey Mouse is not a taboo subject for a teenage girl.  Listening is rare in our society.  Listening is a gift.  Gladly give the gift of listening.  Spending time with an AS child will teach you to listen.
  • To not judge.  Not all of us fit into the expected norms.  We are all different, but because society has placed certain expectations on us, we tend to conform to those expectations so as not to make waves.  ASD kids simply can't conform like you can, so they are labeled "different" and even sometimes "abnormal."  They make waves even though they have no intention of making any waves.  They make waves just by the nature of who they are. If the world around my daughter would stop with their expectations and judgments, my daughter would not have to make as many waves.
  • To not overreact.  My daughter has been thoroughly confused on many occasions because people have overreacted to something she says or does.  We have seen overreactions to good things and bad things.  Both are just as confusing to my daughter.  She doesn't understand the "hype" when people overreact because she doesn't understand the reason for the hype in the first place.To stop generalizing and putting people into categories.  Spending time with my AS daughter will show you that each and every individual is unique, does not fit into any box or category you might want to create for them and should be treated like they are as unique as they really are!
  • To mean what you say and say what you mean.  I never have to repeat myself to my daughter, and she never goes back and changes anything she says.  She means what she says and she says what she means and, in my heart, I honestly hope that this wonderful characteristic is NOT the result of her ASD.  When I do find myself repeating things to her, she quietly points out that I already told her that.  If she says "No" to something, I never have to ask her if she's sure; she speaks her mind the first time with no hesitation.  It is very rare to find a person who knows their own mind and isn't afraid to speak it.
  • That you need to take time to pet the cat.  She spends time petting her cat every day, even during school hours because petting the cat is so incredibly important. 
  • That you need to break away from the world's expectations and dare to be yourself.
  • To have confidence in yourself.  While my AS daughter might not describe herself as full of confidence, she is full of confidence and she carries herself with grace and respect.  She has confidence to be herself and the determination to stick to it. 

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