Monday, March 29, 2010

An emotional clear message

Billy had a bit of a cry at school today, and when his teacher asked him why he was sad, he told her that one of the kids had really hurt his ears. She asked how, and he said by yelling in them. She asked if he would like to talk to the child about it, and he agreed he would.

This is a first. Not that his ears have been hurt by yelling - that happens all the time in this stupid noisy world. But it's the first time Billy has been able to take responsibility for explaining his autistic challenges to non-family. He (according to his teacher) swallowed his tears and told the child what it feels like when there's yelling around him. He said 'Please don't hurt my ears. I really don't like yelling.' He gave his friend a very clear message... with a few tears in it.

I'm proud, and the reason I'm proud is going to seem a little perverse.

I'm proud because he is taking ownership of his difference. He is not concerned about there being a value attached to advocating for his own needs. I know, as he grows and ages, that's likely to change. But again, I've got to thank hippy school for making it possible for him (and all the other kids) to articulate feelings, needs, desires as a natural part of their day. It's a great skill for everyone, but for Billy it's vital.

It's like he's been imprinted with a really useful behaviour - a really useful tool for life. If he can do it now, I hope he remembers he can do it when he's 16, 30, 60...

OK now I have completely freaked myself out. Billy at 16 or 30 or 60. 


Off he goes into his future.


Garrie said...

Here's hoping BTB Fan can be so assertive. You need to be so proud of your little man.

Katie said...

Oh, Val, that is wonderful.

I can only dream that one day my little guy can be like your Billy.

My favorite thing about this story is he not only took responsibility for his differences, but (because of what his wonderful mum has taught him no doubt!) he fully expects others to respect those differences as well.

*Insert huge praise for his teacher as well, who obviously has those same expectations!

Mama Deb said...

That is amazing! Celebrating something that I know is not a small feat with you!p