Because I tend to want to look good myself, I often find myself expecting my kids to do what makes me look good to others. Sit still, be quiet, don’t talk too loud, smile nicely, fold you napkin in your lap, get good grades in school, and excel in your sport. This list goes on and on and on. When my second child was born, I quickly realized that it was going to be impossible for me to continue parenting in this way.
Lizzie was diagnosed with autism shortly after her second birthday. At this time, I had begun learning what made her different and what her needs were. The only problem was that this often conflicted with the social norm.
One day I decided to meet my husband for lunch with Lizzie. We ordered at the counter and then quickly sat at an open table as we waited for our food. Lizzie hadn’t been out of the house in weeks. Between her rigid therapy schedule and the fact that it was difficult to keep her from wandering, it was easier to just stay home.
Shortly after we got to our table, Lizzie stood up in the booth, gripped the edge and started jumping. At first it was just harmless little bounces. Then it turned into huge jumps where she appeared to be using all her strength to slam her feet as hard as she could down on that booth.