Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Beauty of Innocence

I know that having children with Asperger's syndrome can seem awful hard sometimes. It's hard to watch your child not have friends at times, it's painful to see them struggle socially. But one of the many positives that I've enjoyed with both of my boys is their prolonged innocence. I admit, that's a double-edged sword for them, in that being too innocent is one of the things that cuts them off socially from their peers. BUT, having said that, I have completely enjoyed the way my boys have stayed innocent for maybe two or three years longer than their peers.

For instance, parents of children on the spectrum know that their ability for joint focus is delayed -- our children either never develop the ability to have shared interest, or that ability is delayed a couple of years. So, when Will was 3, he was not pointing to a big yellow school bus trying to get me to see it. He was not excited about seeing new things. And yet, two or three years later, he began to do these things, slowly.

I can remember taking Will to a movie, and realizing that he thought everything on the screen was actually happening. We had to prep him before the movie began, saying "Don't worry -- remember, none of what is going on on the screen is real, it's all just pretend play". He is over that particular problem now. But I did take him to see the most recent version of the "Peter Pan" movie that came out last year, and he enjoyed that movie more fully than any neuro-typical kid would. If there was a fight scene between Peter and Captain Hook, he booed Captain Hook and cheered Peter when he was winning. He was impressed by the magic of the scenes. He has that ability to imagine, and create, and be awed by new things -- he is not jaded like many of his neurotypical peers.

Now that Will's almost nine, we enjoy so many of the things other parents only enjoy with their six or seven-year-olds. He has a more child-like outlook on life. That will change soon enough. But for now, I'm enjoying the child in Will to the fullest.


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