Saturday, September 22, 2012

"That look"

     Yesterday I had the chance to get out, enjoy some adult conversation, and even had an adult beverage or two. I met some former colleagues out for a teacher happy hour. I went with a group of woman I had worked with for 2 years. I hadn't seen most of them in over a year, but we are all "Facebook friends" and have been keeping in touch online. They all know that I have been taking a child care leave, but most aren't aware of why. They see me as lucky (which I am!) since I have been able to stay home with my son for so long. Since this was to be a night of fun and socialization, and since most of the people there were casual acquaintances, I didn't see the need to get into J's diagnosis, therapies, etc with everyone.
     One of the women there I felt a bit closer to. We had eaten lunch together frequently, she knew a bit more about my personal life and I about hers, and I had always gotten a bit of a motherly vibe from her. She is the mother of an adult child with some special needs and I felt comfortably confiding in her. So I went more in depth with her and explained that had been diagnosed with autism and that I  am staying home to be involved in his therapies. Her response was "I've always thought there might be something going on. He's always had a "different"'look to me in his pictures on FB".  ???WHAT??? Excuse me, but that was NOt the response I was expecting. And just what is this "look" that she feels my son has? I wasn't aware that autism has a look. I have read on several blogs and various places about people being told that their child "doesn't look autistic" I have always sympathized with these parents and been angered by the remarks and ignorance. This was my first time experiencing it personally, though I am sure it won't be the last. Now I get it more than ever.
I see eyes full of wonder

    I don't know what this woman is seeing, but when I look at pictures of J a see a lot of things. But autism is NOT one of them
gummy smiles

toothy grins

moments of awe
a comedian
a welcoming wave

mischievious looks
pure happiness
And a little boy who will melt your heart with his smile.
What do you see??


  1. I see absolutely nothing different about his look from any other little kid... nothing. And I'm being completely honest. I thought maybe he would be avoiding eye contact with the camera.. but nothing...

  2. I didn't know you keep a blog, but I love it! In terms of this situation, I am shocked and saddened by what your "friend" said to you. When I look at your lovely pictures of Jake, what I see in him is what I see in my own toddler- an explorer, a ham, a snuggle bug, a smarty-pants, a mischief-maker, a joyful love bug, and a child who loves and is loved.