Samuel helped me discover one of the most important gifts you can give your children as they are moving from childhood to puberty.
For those of you who haven't "met" Samuel, he is my son in the seventh grade who also has high functioning autism. He is exceptionally bright, funny and interprets and experiences the world in ways I will never know.
Recently we went to visit the doctor for a wart on his left hand. It was a hideous looking growth and I couldn't wait to get it off.
Samuel's pediatrician asked me questions that involved Samuel's health care. I then asked Samuel, "What do you think?" If he needed more explanation or clarification, he asked for it.
He chose to have a flu shot because he has perfect attendance in school this year and he wants to keep it that way.
He chose to have a booster vaccination against HPV because the doctor explained what that prevents.
He chose to have his wart frozen off with three separate doses of whatever it is they put on there to make this process happen. It looks like they shoot dry ice into the wart, but I don't think that is what actually happens. Samuel stood there and acted as a collaborator with his doctor in getting the job done.
So what is the gift?
I treated Samuel as if he had the competence to make the right choices for himself. The doctor followed my lead and in doing so, explained more clearly to Samuel the hows, whys and risks much better than I could have.
In treating Samuel as if he was competent, I discovered in these areas, he was competent and capable. He was thoughtful and made his choices based on fact. If he had made choices from fear, we could have coached him a bit to find out more behind his reasoning.
I know I am extremely important in my son's eyes. By treating him as competent and capable, his confidence is naturally boosted.
What could be better than having a child on the autism spectrum who is confident and feels competent and capable?
I wonder what lesson he will teach me next.
What lessons do your children teach you?
Julie Jordan Scott is a writer, performance poet, Mommy and mixed-media artist. Her word-love themed art will be for sale at a First Friday soon, when it is warmer than it was in December!, in Downtown Bakersfield. Check out the links below to follow her on a bunch of different social media channels, especially if you find the idea of a Word-Love Party bus particularly enticing.
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