He hasn't been diagnosed, but my Sonshine has traits very similar to Asperger's Syndrome. This is a mild form of autism. Since "socialization" is the area where he's most delayed, I make a point of putting him in as many social situations with "age appropriate" peers as possible. This is hard because the happier/ more overstimulated he gets the wilder he gets.
Well, this week is Vacation Bible School, so I called his SS teach (who will be teaching his VBS class too) and asked if she minded Sonshine going. God love her, the answer was "I'd assumed he'd be there." Now, for those of you who haven't been to a VBS recently, it overstimulates ME. And I'm pretty calm overall. So, tonight is the second night and I was a little late dropping him off. They'd already started the dancing and music when we walked in. His class (being the youngest) sits in the front pew of the sanctuary. I have my 2 other hooligans in tow (Sugars in arms and Alligator by the same hand I'm holding Sonshine with). So halfway up the aisle I let go of Sonshine. Does he go find his teacher?? OF COURSE NOT!!! He goes straight up to the front where the leaders are dancing and tries to get as close as possible to the screen where the video is playing. Then starts running around the dancers laughing and doing his own "happy dance".
OK, hard mommy moment. Decision time. Do I trek up to the front with the other 2 kids to try and get him to the right place or do I wait and see what happens next?? Well, I waited. His teacher was talking to another kid and didn't see us walk in. After a min or two she spotted him (granted, he wasn't hard to miss) went over and herded him back in with the class. I went on home to wait till time to pick him up.
When I got there to pick him up things hadn't wound down yet so I had a chance to stand at the back and watch Sonshine without him knowing I was there. WOW, that was strange. I was also alone which was even stranger. First off, it took me 5 min to find him. YUP, he looked (and acted) just like every other little boy on that pew. Then, as I was standing there watching him from behind, no less than 3 of the other VBS helpers came up to me individually to tell me how WELL BEHAVED my son is. These are people who know us, surely they haven't forgotten which boy is mine???!!!??? One teacher even said he was one of the best in the group.
I am amazed, daily, at how much Sonshine has changed. He's constantly improving. I know that there will always be hard mommy moments. I hope that I have the strength to stand back and watch more often. And I am very grateful that God has put such wonderful, understanding, loving teachers in his life who won't blink at having him in their class.
Big White Hat posted recently about taking his son "Tiger", who is autistic, into a new social situation. He ended that post by saying about Tiger, "He will be a truly excellent man. He will achieve great things....I am proud of him."
That is exactly how I feel about Sonshine.