What do you notice and think about now since you’ve got a special needs kid that you didn’t before?
I’ve discovered lots. One of the things I’ve noticed is, well, other people, and I think about their lives and how they go through their days.
I’m not the guy you’d meet with the most empathy in the world, but I have alot more since Demetrius came into my life than before. Of course, the jerk in me is that I’m more sympathetic, typically, to those I don’t know than those I do.
So I’m at this new job and I’m noticing that the hispanic cleaning lady won’t make eye contact with anyone and if you say hello she will put her head down and nod. As I was walking back from a meeting the other day, and earlier today, I saw her drinking a styrofoam cup of water, trying to do so a bit behind the coke machine between it and some recycling bins in a break area.
I don’t care where you settle in on the argument regarding illegal immigrants, etc….I just wonder, what does your life have to be like where you actually straight up feel like a second class person, enough so that when you need to get a drink of water that you try to hide the fact that you are taking a water break? In fact, do you actually get a break? I wonder as I notice.
I made a point later in the day as she was emptying the trash in an office down the hall of making eye contact and saying hello. I got a small smile. It’s a win in my book.
I’m not a member of my new company’s credit union but there is a gentleman that works there that has a disability where his two arms are misformed. One only comes to what I’m figuring to be about a regular person’s forearm and the other somwhere between that length and around our elbows. Looks as if his fingers work properly.
I was behind him walking back from the cafeteria and he was carrying a tray. Had it balanced by his ‘better’ arm and pressed tightly against his stomach and side. As he got to the entrance to the credit union I told him I’d get the door, a brief guy exchange – “thanks, I appreciate it/no problem.” I noticed he had on a tie. and the way his collar was set I could see that it was a real four-in-one knotted tie.
How long do you think it takes him to knot that tie? I’m sure he knots it and keeps it that way and finds a way to put it on and take it off each day. Even so, how tough is that? I think that no one should probably be more proud to wear a tie than this guy.
Or going to the bathroom (I saw him walking out later in the day). We made eye contact. Guy rules here – no talking around urinals unless absolutely necessary. Guys, we all just slink up and unzip (some better than others even in our 40s!). This isn’t going to happen for this guy. He’s probably got a whole routine he has to follow to properly execute this maneuver. How long do you think it took him and his parents to learn to do this as a child? How many accidents do think he had? How many did he have in front of his peers when he held too long as a pre-schooler/kindergartner? Even today, he probably has to plan way in advance of this…when we really don’t even ever think about having to plan to go.
Maybe I’ve become a bit of a screaming liberal as I’ve gotten older because D has enhanced my radar for these things… its becomes stronger, more clear. Some of us don’t get the same breaks as others in life, and some of us never notice little things because it is…well, human nature to not notice sometimes.
Of course, like I said, when Maya falls, I’m still her Dad. She cries. I get a bit testy as I think she’s being a drama queen. I tell her to get up, shake it off, falling down is no big deal. So I’m no saint, but I certainly think I notice these things a bit more than I used to.
Okay, to some autism stories…
Hey, look a gluten free autism story on the local NBC affiliate in LA….
Two years ago it was all about major funding, and the other side of the moon? A bad economy and the cuts to funding are starting to show up….
Well, this headline gets to the point.
We’d like to have had Demetrius in this classroom!
You might not want to move to this town in Idaho.
We all kind of feel this way, don’t we?