Ever experienced a ‘down’ day when you’ve felt your work is unnoticed and under appreciated?
Well, I had one of those days, yesterday, while stressing over the writing of an article titled, “The benefits of Autistic Travel.”
“As a mother of two Autistic Children, our vacations can be pretty challenging. But that hasn’t stopped us, however, from seeing the sights and doing some ‘globetrotting’ ourselves.Our kids love the change and novelty of travel. As long as we are aware of what they are feeling and what they like to do versus things that may scare them, we do alright and have a lot of fun.During a recent trip to Disneyworld, we had a beautiful experience that was the highlight of my visit.It was one of those moments that made my daughter, and I feel good inside because of the effort that one beautiful person made to understand our world.My daughter, Abella (5), is non-verbal and likes Disney World on her terms. Her favorite ride is the Disney Buses that take us to and from the parks and the carousel. Otherwise, she loves to see the sights in the park and enjoy it from the comfort of our rented stroller (which we named Happy Chappy).
She doesn’t like the parks at night for fear of the fireworks and the loud noises that come with them, so we visit the parks during the day and try to see as much as we can in the daylight hours.One afternoon, when we were visiting my daughter, took a curious interest in Princess Tiana from the Princess and the Frog, who was meeting other park guests. She smiled when she looked at her and indicated to me; she wanted to see her.Safe in her stroller, we waited patiently in line to visit with the princess.
The castle, which was not far from where we were. As it ended, fireworks went off, scaring my daughter. Immediately, she put her hands to her ears in panic mode and indicated to me that it was time to go. I pointed to the princess and asked if she wanted to see the princess still. She only retreated into the safety of Stroller.
Near the front of the line then, our turn came to see the princess and her prince.As my son visited with them, she watched curiously with her hands still pressed against her ears. After my son had got his picture, both Tiana and her prince approached the stroller to say hi. Sensing her fear, the prince backed off and let Tiana talk to her a little. She held out her hands to my daughter, reluctantly Abella reached out one hand to touch Tiana as if to say thanks, and then quickly put it back to her ear.
Tiana tried to calm Abella down by talking for a little while and then attempted to coax my daughter out of the stroller for a picture.With no luck after a few tries, Tiana came up with a better idea. Instead of asking my daughter to come to her, she came to her. With no regard for her dress, Tiana fell to the ground and got as close to the stroller as she could.
The beauty of the moment caused me to tear up. Even as her parent, I sometimes forget that her perspective on the world is different than ours, and often we try to bring her from her world back into ours. However, in this one moment, Tiana’s actions made it clear that it doesn’t have always to be that way, by making herself the outsider and entering my daughter’s Autistic world.