Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Socks & Neurodiverse Thinkers

 



Socks

I watched as my son, Elijah, balanced himself on my mom’s lap with the wobbly legs of a novice walker. He seemed so enthralled with the picture hanging behind her.  I can hardly remember a time when Elijah did not talk. That may have something to do with the fact that I talked to him from the first moment that I was aware of his existence. Full on conversations without the baby talk. Although he kept looking at the above picture and saying “socks!”.  I wasn’t understanding how he was seeing socks. I studied the picture for a long time and finally the image of socks emerged.  The shadows cast by the lodge poles in the old adobe house were indeed creating socks. He wasn’t confused or getting anything wrong, he was seeing socks!

My son Elijah is now 24, creative, hilarious and a neurodivergent individual.  I have spent many years reminding myself to look for the socks; to try to see things from his perspective. Always trying to remind educators that he may not be a typical kiddo, but there’s so much beauty in that. To please begin with positive attributes in every IEP meeting, especially when he was in attendance. To the doctor who wanted to medicate him at two, but not diagnose him, a hard NO. I am thrilled that Elijah challenges the way we look at some things. To the person who told me early on that I needed to break his spirit, thank goodness that I didn’t take that advice. When he was younger and I was his advocate (that never fully ends, by the way), I tried to remind everyone that Elijah is full of possibilities and abilities, not disabilities.  To help them see that neurodiversity is not a negative, but only another difference like any other. Elijah and I have discussed that it is completely up to him whether he chooses to disclose these traits or keep them to himself.  I’ve tried to raise Elijah to be a strong self-advocate and to be proud of who he is, and I feel he is largely successful in that. He’s now an open-minded, capable, polite, thoughtful, insightful young man that happens to be on the autism spectrum.








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