We have never told Motormouth that Monkey has Autism. We've never told him that he falls on the high end of the spectrum either, for that matter. We choose not to tell Motormouth about Monkey's diagnosis for several reasons, but mostly because we didn't want to label him and because it didn't make one bit of difference. It wasn't like you couldn't tell that Monkey was different, but we didn't want Motormouth to treat him like he was. In most situations, we didn't try to respond to Monkey as if he has Autism (Oh, let the poor little handicapped boy get away with that, after all, he is a poor little handicapped boy) and try really hard to hold both our kids to what we think is a 'typical kid' standard. I don't want you to think my kids behave well for kids with Autism, I want you to think my kids are well behaved, period. It never seemed to bother Motormouth before, but lately, there have been moments, and comments. The 'why does he have to act like that' and 'why can't he be like everyone else' kind. So, it was time to sit down and discuss the A word. It went a little something like this:
Monkey has Autism. That just means that his brain works a little differently than most people's brains. He thinks differently. It is why he has a hard time talking or making eye contact. It is why he walks around and talks to himself and doesn't play with his toys. It does not mean that he is sick, or that you need to be scared. It doesn't change anything you know about Monkey, he is still the same brother you had yesterday. The one that is really good at video games, and memorizes every movie he watches, and is always the first one to come running when you call for help. The one that will defend you if there is bully on the playground, or when you and daddy are wrestling. It does mean that things might be hard for you sometimes in the years to come. Monkey might embarrass you in front of your friends, people will stare if he throws a fit in public. We know that this will be hard on you, but you need to know that Monkey isn't trying to make you embarrassed, or that he likes people to stare.
When I was finished, Motormouth had two questions. The first one was 'will Monkey ever get better, or will he always have Autism?' unfortunately, my answer was I don't know. We talked about how far Monkey has come in the past few years, and that if he continues to talk to people more, then it will be really hard for anyone to tell that he has Autism. The next question: Can we go sword fight on the trampoline? You bet dude, good talk.