Not too long ago, I picked my son, Adam, up from his beloved weekly art class. It was a pretty typical pick-up. I found Adam, in his methodical manner, returning his brushes one by one in order of size to the container. He returned his blue apron to the same hook and rearranged the rest of the aprons in rainbow color order.
He then returned to his easel and carefully removed his art board from the clips, first the right side, and then the left side, and returned it to his art case. He finally adjusted his signature black “engineer” hat, then put on his jacket.
I have learned after many years to just be patient and wait. While he was going through his routine, another mom, who was walking out the door with her daughter, stops, takes a step back and says:
"Oh, Adam is your son! His artwork is beautiful. I would have never known that he had autism. I'll bet that you sometimes wish that he didn't, right?"
Now, being a mom of a child with autism for almost 12 years, I am accustomed to the looks, comments, suggestions and the input of what people have "heard" and what people have "read." I am used to smiling politely when people make "suggestions" as to what I should try, how I should "approach." As an autism mom, you learn to develop a thick skin and learn to let a whole lot of things roll off your back. However, I have to say, this particular encounter with this particular mom really stopped me in my tracks. And it really surprised me, for I am typically not ever at a loss for words. But this time, I was. All I could do was look at her, raise my eyebrows a bit and walk out the door; and, in retrospect, I hope my lack of ability to speak at that moment was a bit more powerful than any word that ever could have exited my mouth.