Tuesday, October 11, 2022

A Glimpse Into the Future

I recently got a glimpse into my son's future.

Davy has CDK13, a rare genetic disorder that affects his development, speech, muscle tone, facial features, and more. It can also cause autism, which it does in Davy's case. 

I was at the bookstore one day when a boy about 13 or 14 years old came in with his mom. He was loudly vocal about his dislike for books in general and instead selected several dvds, he told his mom she was slacking when he was ready to check out and she was not, he did not seem to realize that he was in the cashier's bubble when he leaned way over the counter, and he loudly asked her several questions about how many books and how many dvds the bookstore carried. 

My first thought was that this kid was disrespectful and self-centered. 

Then, I noticed that his speech was kind of unclear and "sloppy" for lack of better word. I also noticed how his mom stayed calm throughout the entire visit as she encouraged him to read the books they had at home if he didn't want any from the store and explained to him each step of what they were doing.   

I realized that while there was a chance that this was a kid who just needed some discipline and to learn some social skills, there was also a good chance that this was a kid with special needs who was doing his best. 

And then, I realized how much he reminded me of Davy. Davy doesn't hold back on his opinions. He has very clear likes and dislikes which he is sure to share with others. He expects others to operate on his timetable. He has no sense of personal space. He is interested in details of how things work and doesn't hold back from asking questions. We are constantly working on social skills and being courteous and respectful to others, but he will always struggle with these things.

As I watched the boy exit the bookstore, I realized that I had just seen a glimpse into Davy's future and it broke my heart. Davy is eight years old now. As he gets older, it's becoming more obvious that he isn't like most kids his age. Each birthday is bittersweet as they remind me of how far he's come, but also, just how much he struggles with things that come naturally for most kids his age. When people look at Davy now and as he grows up, will they see a spoiled child who needs some serious discipline or will they see a child who is doing his best, but struggling to process and respond to everyday things? 

Please let this be your reminder to give people grace when you see them behaving "differently" in public. Many disabilities are invisible to others, but they're there just the same.   


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