Monday, November 18, 2013

This is Autism (Sandy Krause)

Written by Sandy Krause, Positive Proclamations

Autism is called a spectrum because every person ‘on the spectrum’ is a unique individual.  But aren’t we all?  I have two kids on the spectrum.  My son, 16 is a tall gentle soul.  I’ll call him the blue soul.  He is very intelligent and loves to research points of interest.  More quiet, reserved but aware of the feelings around him.  When visiting my mother in a memory care unit daily he formed a bond with a male resident there.  The 92 year old man would get upset saying he couldn’t find him mother.  My son would tell him it was OK, put his arm around him, the man would lean into my son and calm down.  The staff said my son’s connection to him was stronger than anyone else they’d seen.

If a child cries my son is right there offering comfort.  If someone is struggling on the stairs he lends an arm.  He’s sensitive to others this way.  When we’re out in public he says ‘hi’ to everyone, including the homeless woman on the corner, the scary looking dude at the bus stop, the mom and child at the store who weren’t speaking English.  When the kids on our dead end street were playing on the steep hill, against the rules a girl fell. She broke her arm, she couldn’t get up.  The other kids ran off afraid of getting in trouble.  My son went to her, helped her up and got her to her house.  He rose above and did the right thing. 

My son has been in scouting since Tiger Cub.  He’s now working on his Eagle Scout project.  He’s had this goal from the beginning.  He takes the scout oath and law very seriously.  My son has been raised to love and accept all others, no exceptions.  When BSA was deciding on whether to allow gay members he was torn by this conflict of morals.  He felt strongly about the rights of all to be part of scouting, something he so values.  He was willing to chuck his lifetime goal if BSA had not include all.  This commitment to others is so rare in our world.  His ultimate goal, to cure Alzheimer’s so no one else loses their grandma.  And with his creative, need to know passion he’ll be the one to figure this out.  

My daughter is 11, she’s an orange soul.  She has spark, creative fire.  At this age the behavior of most of the girls is odd to her.  But didn’t we all go through this in middle school?  She creates.  She draws as well as most professional artists.  Her singing voice is phenomenal, yet she lacks the confidence to sing solo publicly.  She hears a song once and can play it on her trombone, the piano or sing it dead on first try.  Inside is a constant flow of new beauty to let flow to the outside world. 

Her spark shows brightly when she sees someone being harmed.  Animals, little kids, the weak and defenseless have her as their guardian.  She offers love to any critter she can.  Little ones cry and she’s playing peek a boo to get them smiling again.   If a weaker being is harmed she rises to protect them, fiercely.  Little Mama Bear.   Two younger kids, one started teasing and she stepped in and defended the tormented.  A classmate whose words were hard to understand, she looked out for him, bonded with him and became his translator. 

Someday she wants to be an artist.  She wants to make things that say something to help people when they’re sad.  She will lift up lost souls with her works, I have no doubt.

This is autism, each child a unique, creative, loving gift who grow to become adults with great potential.

A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.  Amelia Earhart


  1. When autism is involved people seem to assume that our children are somehow no longer people, as if they have entered a coma of sorts. You have written a beautiful reminder of how deeply human and what amazing people these individuals are and aspire to be. Thank you for writing this.

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