Along with so many other children, our son suffers from an invisible disability. At first glance, he seems perfectly normal. But I can't begin to tell you the barrage of questions we get hit with. A few recent ones include:
- Why doesn't your son tuck his shirt in?
- Why does he have a game boy or nook with him constantly?
- Why doesn't he look me in the eye when he speaks to me?
- Why doesn't he play outside with the other children?
- Don't you realize that homeschooling makes it difficult to socialize him?
Most children I have met on the spectrum have difficulty looking people in the eye. It makes them feel uncomfortable. And playing with other children outside often means playing by someone else's rules or having an amount of communication or contact with other children that is often difficult or painful for one on the autism spectrum. There are several disabilities acts of recent years that provide for and support modifications in activities like sports and cub scouts for children with such disabilities.
I'm not going to make this about homeschooling as I address the last question I mentioned above. What I will say is that we view the key to socializing our child with a quality as opposed to quantity approach. For example, he is not playing on a playground lightly supervised with fifty other children. Instead he is playing on a playground at a park with one other child, highly supervised by one of his parents and a friend's parent. He may not be in a classroom with 23 other children. However, he belongs to a homeschool group where he can enjoy the company of other children for a period of 1 to 3 hours a few times a month while on a field trip or experiencing a hands on learning approach.
I have a few questions of my own.
- Why are people so oblivious to these invisible disabilities?
- Where has their compassion gone?
What are your hopes for your child?