For years I never shared videos or pictures of LittleOne stimming. I have a pit in my stomach now thinking of how I edited out that part of him. I’m sure there was some part of me that wanted to make him look more normal or project the best image. I was only presenting the highlight reel for everyone to see.
It took some work for me to be okay with his stim/ism. And I have been okay with the spoon, the pacing, the shaking, and the quirks for years.
The harder part was not caring what others think. I get feedback; I know it bothers so many. Seriously, a kid doing something unusual to keep his mind right makes adults really uncomfortable. And their feedback used to make me really unconformable. I edited his life because of how it made me feel to hear the feedback.
Self injurious behavior and stims are a whole different ballgame; those need to be redirected. We’ve taught LittleOne ways to not hurt himself. It’s the run-of-the-mill repetitive, exclusive behaviors that I’ve come to see beauty in… our kids do those for a reason. Every adult I know has been inundated with people, noise, and day-in-day-out stress and when it gets to be too much we reach for something to soothe us. Yet we shame children for knowing their need intimately and solving it themselves with their limited resources. Maybe for us maybe it’s a walk or meditation or a glass of wine after work– something that looks and feels normal– nothing weird or odd like shaking a perfectly balanced spoon.
“The things that make me different are the things that make me me.” Winnie the Pooh
The beautiful logic of Winnie the Pooh. How do we adults forget these honest truths?
In all truthfulness, their ingenuity and resourcefulness is remarkable, a sign of strength and perseverance. Those odd behaviors don’t make our kids less interesting, intelligent, fun or worthy. I have gotten that feedback too, but I’m not listening. I’m not listening to the uninformed, the old-fashioned, the rude or the experts who recommend we extinguish these behaviors, not even to the overpaid Neurologist who said, “autistic kids just sit in the corner and flap,” as he waved his hands mockingly.
My parenting goal is to solve the problems he is facing so he stays engaged in my world. For LittleOne a long string and a spoon help. Given the things that adults have said to me, I sometimes wonder if it’s that great of a world to be in anyway.
You know what makes this world better? He does… and other pure souls like him. So I persist. The world needs him and I will raise him to improve it, with or without a spoon in his hand.