“Stop It”: The Start of Something New
by Sarena James
In my head I’ve thought of a thousand different scenarios of what it would be like when my son voluntarily addressed his peers.
Would he introduce himself? Would he ask to play ball? Would he offer one of his favorite snacks, a slice of a Fuji apple, or a corner of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Never, not once did I think it would come because he was being laughed at.
Our son was running outdoors when he fell and scraped his right knee. I heard him screaming and then saw his injury, no stitches needed, but certainly worthy of
a large Band-Aid. The screams and the tears were completely justified, and in between them were these clearly spoken words, “Ouch. Red. Band-Aid. Please.” Oftentimes
, Grant’s scattered language is very difficult for him and us to find, but this time his words were the unmistakable lighthouse in an emotional storm. He was able to verbalize what was wrong, and that alone helped make things right.
“A few of the children were laughing at him when he fell down. Grant got up, looked directly at them and said, ‘Stop it.’ I’m proud of him.”
We returned outside where one of his ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Therapists was waiting. She was nodding and smiling the kind of smile that suggests she was proud, and that’s what she said. “A few of the children were laughing at him when he fell down. Grant got up, looked directly at them and said, ‘Stop it.’ I’m proud of him.”
There it was. No more wondering what it would be like. There was no name introduction, or sharing of an apple. Instead, there was simply this: a need for Understanding, Perspective, and Sensitivity. He, within himself, was able to discern exactly what was going on around him, and decided to address it in his way. I hugged him for as long as he would allow, all of three seconds, and then watched him play a friendly game of tag with the wind.
Again my heart asked two unanswerable questions, “How much does he know? How much does he fully understand?” A certain peace came when I remembered my husband’s written words after cutting the grass with Grant. “The scariness of raising a son on the spectrum subsided considerably when I stopped focusing on what my son couldn’t do and started celebrating everything he was doing.” Grant is doing. He is learning, and he is teaching. He is writing, and he is speaking. He is running, and when he falls, he gets back up.
Sarena James, is a wife and stay-at-home mother of three who enjoys theater and writing. She and her family reside in Charleston, SC where they frequent historic tours and relax beachside. Originally from Aurora, CO, Sarena is a graduate of Paine College in Augusta, Ga.