Monday, July 11, 2016

Forks Can Be Dangerous and Other Tips From Tate

My fourteen-year-old son Tate was born with autism. In my last post I spoke of the evolution of autism in our home, how I used to feel about autism, and how I have come to terms with it. There was a time when I never would have believed I could easily laugh about our situation, but I do laugh now. A lot. Every single day. I do not necessarily laugh AT my son. I do not really laugh WITH my son either, as he does not usually understand why I find things funny. I laugh because I enjoy my son and I enjoy the funny things he says and does. Kids are funny, autism or not. I began illustrating some of our humorous moments so that others might also be able to smile, understanding that autism is not always doom and gloom.

Trying to see the world through Tate’s eyes is challenging at times, yet somewhat entertaining much of the time too. He has a unique perspective and often a surprising way of looking at things. Tate offers us advice and gives insight often. Here are some examples:

One of the biggest challenges we face, living with autism, is communication. There is miscommunication so much of the time. I can walk away from Tate, believing he understands the information or instructions given to him, when in fact he had no idea what was said. It’s not that he is not trying or does not care, although sometimes that may be the case. I believe he often “gets lost” in all the language and becomes overwhelmed trying to process it, so he tunes us out. And other times I am sure he fully heard but misunderstands. Regardless, we find ourselves in interesting conversations. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the old comedy routine, “Who’s on First.”

We work on communication and conversation skills constantly. Believe it to not, Tate has come a very long way. Tate sees small talk as a waste of time and really does not understand why anyone would want to talk about things he has no interest in himself.  

I received a question on my blog page from a little girl today. She asked me if having a kid with autism is as hard as everyone says. I told her that autism is hard, but it is mostly hard for Tate, not for me. I explained to her some of the challenges he faces now and some of the challenges I believe he will face in the future. But then I told her that being Tate's mom is not hard because I love him so much. He is a fun kid and we have a really good life with lots of laughter. Putting it into words easy enough for a child to understand may oversimplify it just a little but the bottom line is: Regardless of the struggles we face, Tate is my son and he means the world to me. 

If you liked these cartoon illustrations, you might like these posts as well: 

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love these cartoon strips! You really capture what it is like to be a mom of a son who has autism spectrum disorder and what autism looks like in real life. I have a son who is 23 years old who is a delight and has autism spectrum disorder. In spite of the difficult moments there really are so many funny moments like you have illustrated. When you talked about how much you love Tate so much and that he means the world to you and that you have a really good life with lots of laughter that is true for us also. So happy you are making this comic strip :)