I took Monday afternoon off from work for an appointment, so I was home when Philip awoke from his nap crying.
I decided to take him to the spray park since the temperatures were high enough. I thought this might perk him up.
He was grumpy as I changed his clothes, put on his water shoes and put him in the car. He still seemed to be waking up when we arrived at the park.
I led him to the water. I noticed that Philip wasn’t playing like the other kids. I tried to show him how he could put his hands in the water. I tried to show him that he could step into the spray without actually doing it myself.
Philip rocked from side to side, looking down at the concrete.
Even though the sun was hot, the water was cold and the breeze brought goosebumps to Philip’s skin. I thought this might explain his reluctance to dash through the spouts of water.
I led him to a different area. It was more of the same. He didn’t dance under streams of water. He wasn’t aiming the water gun at other kids. He was rocking.
It was one of those times that I was feeling discouraged all because I was looking at the other kids and comparing Philip’s behavior to theirs.
Then I stopped myself. Instead of worrying about those other kids, I focused on Philip. What was he thinking/feeling/experiencing?
What was he looking at?
I looked toward the ground and saw it. The spray of water that Philip stood beside fell in a million different drops. The sunshine going through the stream of water created a constantly shifting shadow.
It was beautiful.
I could see why Philip wasn’t racing around like the other kids. Why do that when you could watch the beauty of the water being reflected in the sunlight, making shadows, dancing.
I realized that I had just read a similar story written by Jess last week at Diary of a Mom. The post was called “than most people ever see.” I recommend that you visit her blog and read this story. I hope I keep her post and my own experience in mind the next time that I am tempted to compare Philip to others and to assume that autism is making him less instead of more.