Curiosity Made the Difference

When we received Jaedon’s diagnosis, he was 30 months old. I remember looking at everything that he did, that I hadn’t known to be autistic, and suddenly hating it, judging it for what it represented to us. One day, he sat exploring his fingers with wonder and fascination, holding them up to the light, turning them around and just staring at them. I became so angry, I snapped at him “Stop staring at your fingers! That’s why people think something is wrong with you!” He just ignored me, and continued his exploration.
I didn’t enjoy how I was and how I thought about Jaedon during those days. Our relationship was strained and full of policing, correcting and training interactions. One day, I wondered what it was like on the receiving end of my administrations. Not good at all. I needed to change. The idea that I could accept his behaviors as part of who he was, and become equally fascinated with them, was new to me, but it made so much sense. Internally, I shifted to become more loving and accepting of even the ‘autistic’ things, and started to understand more about what he found fascinating. As I became fascinated, he became more fascinated in me! He started to look more, look longer and engage with giggles and affectionate looks so much more, as I sat with him, loved, accepted and explored. Coming out of such explorations, I discovered that he made a particular sound quite often. It sounded like “txk, txk”. I knew he loved to be tickled and I think because I was letting go of my limited thinking, I decided to try linking that sound with him getting a tickle. So Jaedon would make his sound, I would exclaim about him telling me to tickle him, and dive in with the tickles. It took a few days for him to make the connection, and soon he started to make his sound to request the tickles! Although Jaedon made a lot of sounds before, this was the first time he made any sounds directly for communication. This happened at age 4.
What’s one behavior that your loved one has that you can be curious about? Choose 10 minutes sometime today to be with him and her. Observe. Be Curious. Be fascinated. It can transform an everyday moment into the miracle it really is!