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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

extraordinary normal moments...toast with cheese

i can't even believe april is almost over. i'm almost done wearing blue, and i'm almost done talking about autism with every outfit post. i wish that meant autism was ending, but it doesn't. autism is everywhere, and the rate of incidence is growing like crazy. throughout this month i've shared a lot of facts about autism, but today i am so excited to bring you a personal story.
 i had the privilege of working with luke and his family when he was in early intervention. talking to families about autism is one of my least favorite parts of my job. no one ever wants to hear that their child is showing signs of autism, but i feel very professionally responsible to share that information.  to learn a little more about luke and his story, check out toast with cheese .
luke's mom, keisha, generously offered to give us a glimpse into everyday life with autism.

I found this entry from my personal blog from last summer. I have what I call “extraordinary normal moments” in my life where I feel almost every other mom wouldn’t blink an eye to what their child is doing at that moment, but if you have a child with special needs- even a moment where your child can handle himself in a group with other kids is worth a huge celebration.
I think that is one of the secret benefits hidden within special needs, you start to celebrate every little victory…every little triumph… because they are huge to you! You celebrate that power wheel car ride like it was a high school graduation.
Luke enjoying a ride with his friends and their dad last summer.
   8/9/2013 Earlier this week, we were hanging out in the Rick's front yard, a normal activity, and something magical happened. But you see, no one else would have known it was magical, probably not even Darren at the time. Let me set this up... The boys were doing their normal thing. Riding bikes, kicking soccer balls to the dads, and just running around to get the wiggles out before bed. All of the sudden more neighbor kids joined. And one of them had a power wheel... As I was casually talking to the moms, I quickly became enthralled with all the kids surrounding this barbie power wheel. I was nervous. Darren was playing street tennis with Sean and the moms kept chatting, but my eyes were glued on Luke. How would he handle this social situation? Would I need to go over and help him self regulate when he didn't get to drive or ride in the car every second? Would another kid become annoyed with him? All these thoughts and more running through my head. But what happened next was magical. I watched my Luke light up with excitement every time someone got a turn. He was calm, cool, and collected. He was a member of the "neighborhood gang" and I wanted to do a happy dance right then. Ahhh, this ordinary moment of being in a neighborhood surrounded by lots of people, and we were a "normal" family for that moment. Autism wasn't controlling what we were doing. Luke was in control!! Luke was happy. I was happy. This little boy who struggled with anyone a year ago, now welcomes more to the crowd and loves seeing people happy. This night was a moment where I felt like I got a little pat on the shoulder that said "Keisha, everything is more than ok, its great!"

big thanks to keisha for giving us a little glimpse into life with autism. i totally agree with keisha. those extraordinary normal moments mean the world and give us all a reason to keep moving forward. i feel so lucky to be a small part of helping kids like luke have more extraordinary normal moments.

***all information about luke and his family are shared with permission

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