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Just a simple conversation for most of us takes seconds. Maybe minutes if we really have a lot to say. Conversations are so vital to our existence. They feed our souls and sometimes, can hurt our souls. I was talking with my son last night and a “simple” sentence for him took many minutes to get out. Even though he types to communicate and it’s AMAZING…it is still challenging for him some days. His motor planning capability can vary depending on his mood, energy level, frustration level and the degree to which is autism is affecting him at that exact moment. I had my daughter videotape our conversation last night so you could witness what a “simple” conversation looks like.
I will admit, looking back on this video you can see I am frustrated. Some days I long for a “typical” 20 second conversation. We are so programmed to not wait long for answers. A “hi, how are you?” response is immediate. “Good!” . When you ask my son “how are you?” It takes a few seconds of processing time, then a few more seconds or minutes of typing a response depending on the answer. Last week I asked him what he wanted for Christmas. He typed “lessons learned.” I asked what that meant and then with time…he got out “I want people to understand the true meaning of Christ. “ (I’m pretty sure he meant Christmas but that sentence took a while and it was bedtime. I really wanted to go to bed so selfishly…I hurried him up.) I told him to think about an actual gift he’d like to open on Christmas morning. I still don’t have an answer because in between holiday shopping, wrapping, grocery shopping, meal prepping, decorating and working…I need to find the patience to sit and listen and support my son and give him the undivided attention he deserves.
This Christmas my wish is more patience. For me, for my son, for those who type to communicate and for the people who have to patiently wait for his responses.
In other news….I just witnessed a Christmas miracle. My teenage girls helped vacuum, clean toilets and get the house ready for our dinner guests. Merry Christmas!!!