Monday, October 13, 2008
So one of the decisions my wife and I made last year was to spend more time with Patrick working on his autism. Our approach to doing so was to send him to school for half days (where they focus on the major academic subjects), and we take him in the afternoons.
As it works with my schedule, I pick him up right around 1:00, and today that happened to be my lunch hour. So I took him with me to the local Dairy Queen, where I ordered a cheesburger, and he ordered a dish of vanilla ice cream.
But what was remarkable about the occasion today was that we were sitting there, eating, and I begin to notice Patrick moving his head. Which didn't really seem very significant to me. I mean, autism spectrum kids will do these weird movements sometimes, right? But then I noticed that the movement was, well, rhythmic. In fact, it was timed to the song on the radio .
Pleased with what I saw, I started moving my head with him, smiling my satisfaction. And to my great surprise, Patrick puts his hands up in the air, moving them back and forth (at one point he even modified this to include a kind of finger pointing thing). He smiled back at me and laughed as we did our little dance together.
I'm not sure just quite what the good patrons of our local Dairy Queen thought of this exchange. But as my son stood up out of his chair and went into full dance mode, I responded in kind without even thinking about it. Patrick would add in these little variations to his dance, and would respond with laughter and understanding when I added in some of my own.
It was this wondrous moment of movement, of coordination, of relationship, of joy. I'm so happy to have had that moment with him.