One Small Step…One Giant Leap


Joseph, not a day passes without me contemplating your future and what life will ultimately hold for you. I know you need me to help you understand, what is very much an alien world to yours.

Most days I set you small challenges, without you even knowing it. I have hope that these small tests will help you grow and give you the independence you will certainly need to live your life to its fullest.

My motherly instinct wants to surround you with cotton wool and protect you from the environment you struggle to comprehend but I also want to give you the life skills you will inevitably need; I can’t shield you from this world forever.

Today’s task was simple. We had visited the Space Centre and you wanted to purchase a toy, so I asked you to take the item to the counter and pay for it alone. I considered whether I should advise the assistant of your autism and why you may not talk in the same way as another eight-year old would. I needed reassurance that he would show you the patience and understanding you deserved.

I gave you basic instructions that I knew you could follow and stepped aside so that you could do this without me. I glowed with pride when you excitedly told him “I’ve found a rocket” and handed over your money along with the item for him to scan. The assistant responded with “Good for you” showing little enthusiasm and awareness of your accomplishment. You even waited for your change (as instructed) and everyone around you was oblivious to the importance of your success. Even you, despite my over-the-top praise. You were pleased with your rocket and nothing else mattered; why would it?

Life for you will always be a series of challenges; some minor and some far more significant. It’s easy to forget how difficult life can be, seeing it through your lens. Part of me would love not to have to extract so much joy from these small feats and take most of it for granted. It’s very much a juggling act in rewarding/praising you for what others may see as something trivial and also not correcting you for every minor thing that doesn’t go to plan. I know I don’t get it right every time and I’m not sure I know of anyone who does.

As your parent, I’ll continue to guide you and nurture your ability. I know that you have bigger challenges ahead, but I have the belief; I always do.


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Tara says:

    I think it sounds like you’re doing an amazing job. I can only imagine how hard it must be to see your gorgeous boy struggle. I’m glad you can take the time to celebrate the wins. I hope he still loves his rocket. #Bloggerclubuk

    1. Thanks Tara…I think the Rocket is last week’s news now hahaha!

  2. I loved this as I totally understand where you are coming from here and all these small victories add up to some pretty amazing ones. Finding the balance between encouraging and supporting is something I am certainly still struggling with. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

    1. I often struggle knowing which achievements I should sing from the rooftops and which just to take in our stride. Maybe we should sing out loud about every one!

  3. This is lovely, I can only imagine how tough it would be to step aside and not want to explain to the assistant. It makes my heart race thinking about it. What an achievement for Joseph. Well done for being a great Mummy. Here’s to more of those achievements. xx #ablogginggoodtime

    1. How many times do all us Mummies have those heart racing moments? It’s bloody hard work!

  4. Lorna says:

    I am a grandma of an amazing little girl on the spectrum. She said to me recently ‘adults are confusing’ in response to a situation we were facing as a family. So often her world is confusing but she amazes and teaches us so much as we struggle to negotiate life. Love her so much and have just discovered your blog which is so helpful. Thank you and many blessings to you all

  5. Thanks Lorna. Children are amazing aren’t they? I wonder whether it’s us as adults that complicates matters!

  6. Astrid says:

    I understand your mixed feelings about the assistant’s lack of a response. I love the fact that you praised Joseph. In the disability community, there are people who claim we need to have normal (ie. non-disabled) expectations of disabled children. I believe we need to challenge them but not overburden them just because the world won’t adapt to their disability. They need a safe place to grow. I am so glad Joseph was happy with his rocket. #spectrumsunday

    1. Thanks Astrid. It’s a tricky one to find the right balance isn’t it? Giving your child the confidence to acquire new skills but not having too high expectations that would push them too far.

  7. unfortunately we can’t prepare the world for our children, but we can prepare our children for the world and it sounds like you have a good balance #SpectrumSunday

    1. Thanks Suzanne. I’m certain I don’t get it right all of the time but I try!

  8. You are so right. Guide guide our kids as individuals – because that’s who they are.

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