So, the last few posts have been somewhat negative, therefore, here comes positivity. This month is Autism Awareness Month! As most of you know, I work with children who have autism. And as there are some children who make me want to pull my hair out on a daily basis, there are the ones that make me want to be a mother! I love autism. I love the way they move and speak (or don't speak) I love their eyes. I love what they say when they can't speak. I love their quirks and different stems. I work with my favorite little boy who has figured out how to "favorite" Tarzan videos on my iphone. I work with another little girl, who although looks and acts like Mowgli from The Jungle Book, can play the piano and sing on perfect pitch.
I'm not really sure where my love of autism stems from. I have worked with many different children but my first autistic love is a little boy named Seth. Seth couldn't talk and he really didn't care to be around many people. He was 7 years old when I first met him. And when we first met, we bonded. I don't really know how it happened. But I received great joy and satisfaction from being one of the only staff at day camp that he liked to be around. He'd hold my hand and walk me to the swing set or climb on my lap for tickles or kisses
Here is a picture list of my other favorites at my little day camp. I'm not allowed to post pictures of my favorites at work, but just know that I have them! :)
Evan...One of the smartest kids I ever knew. We played games, talked about politics, worked through issues of him accidentally walking into the women's restroom and having his "worst nightmare come true!!!!!" He had a different obsession every day ranging from the Reeses puff cereal rap, timers, banjo music, fashions, and whatever else it may be. I love this child.
Elyssa...One of my all time favorite children. This girl could quote any line from almost any movie. She loved to write stories that were almost identical to Disney stories, except she would substitute in other characters, (usually animals) from other Disney movies. My all time favorite story? Marley and me with Timon and Puma raising Kiara, the worlds worst lioness. I don't know where she got it, but it always entertained me. I worked with Elyssa first in the school district as a sixth grader and we would talk about Harry Potter and any dog movie that was ever made. She asked me one time what my dogs names were and what type of dog they were and to this day, if I ask her what kind of dogs I have, she says, in the same voice as always..."Chloe and Coletrane...Chloe's a rat terrier and Coletrane is a golden retreiver."
Ana has always called me Breckey. One of my favorite memories of Ana has to have been holiday week at summer day camp. She missed Christmas because she was sick, so when she came to camp the next day, (which was Halloween) she kept coming up to me and saying in her little robot voice..."We going to sing Christmas Carols today??? Breckey...it's Christmas today? I want to sing Christmas songs today?" sooo...with a little sneaking around, and a pretend note from Santa Claus, we had a special Christmas hour, sing along time with Ana. It still freaked her out that she missed Christmas, but she was fine once we got to the pool. (How I got a picture of her smiling? I will never know!)
This little guy was one of my favorites because not only did he have autism, but he also has Down Syndrome. Which is actually a lot more common than people think, (as will be apparent in my next picture) Jonathan loves singing time with Jenny. He can sing Old Susanna and Yes, Jesus Loves me! I love this kid because it took him 40 minutes to walk to the park with two staff on either side, he couldn't swim in the pool because he would poop on command, and he loved lady bug erasers.
And last but far from least...
Alex is also Down Syndrome and Autistic. I love Alex because I have worked with him since he was a sixth grader. Alex is naughty...He kind of reminds me of a sour patch kid. One minute he's sour...the next he's sweet. I could always tell when it was going to be a good day, and when it was going to be a bad day with Alex...Just by asking one question..."Alex, what's my name?" good day answer: "Buh...buh..becky!!"...Bad day answer: "Iiiiii...Don't know." Favorite memory? Alex picking up a piece of goose poop with two sticks and walking up to Haley (my sister and saying) "Haaaayley. Eat Poop." while pushing it to her face.
As the month goes on, I hope people will realize the importance of recognizing Autism. I think people are more aware of it these days, but not so understanding of it yet. These special spirits bring me GREAT joy. :) Happy Autism Month!