There is more to your child than his or her Autism diagnosis.
I wish someone had told me that years ago…
Hearing your child has Autism, or a neurological disorder, can be so unbelievably scary.
It’s strange how such a tiny word like Autism can stop you in your tracks and turn your life upside down. Not that the diagnosis was unexpected, but it felt like the life you had imagined for your child has now flown out the window.
For myself and I’m sure many other parents you feel the combination of sadness and relief. And after reality sets in, you think what now?
I dove in deep; I wanted to know everything possible about Autism and how I could help my child.
You sort through paperwork and referrals. Then you google. How can I fix my son??? I wanted my son to have a life without this word Autism hanging over our heads. I read almost every book I researched on the internet and if I believed everything on the damn internet, Collin would have never become a Cub Scout.
Putting Collin into Cub Scouts was on a whim. Jonah was a year into Cub Scouts when approached by our new Pack Master. She asked us why Collin wasn’t in Cub Scouts along with his brother?
I specifically remember during this part of our Autism journey Collin was having many meltdowns.
And then there were the sleepless nights.
Having meltdowns in public places was always so stressful. I would end up crying myself, feeling defeated, even embarrassed.
I wondered how he would do at den meetings: toting around his Ipad, flapping his hands when he was happy, or not wanting to sit in a group setting.
He was loud.
He would perseverate over certain things
He would recite his movies and tv shows.
Collin has a sensory disorder like most children with Autism and not a big fan of buttons, tags, and anything touching his skin. So Collin wearing a Cub Scout uniform was probably going to be out of the question.
I know he would do all these things because he has Autism.
There were many den meetings he didn’t want to go to. He would let us know he wanted to leave.
But we gave it time.
We gave him time.
Then we noticed he was showing an interest in going to den meetings.
He took part (Collin’s way) in group activities to earn his badges, and I’m pretty sure his favorite part was the Pack Meetings. Collin loved standing with his den and receive his badges. Collin beamed with pride.
Fast forward 4 years.
Two days before our Cub Scout Pack 100 (Webelos Arrow of Light) crossover ceremony, our sweet boy put on Jonah’s uniform button-down shirt. Mind blown!!! We praised him!!! “Great job buddy!” I grabbed my phone quickly and took a picture just in case this was a fluke.
On the day of the ceremony, my husband reached out to find a shirt for Collin to wear. We were lucky to get in touch with another Scout mom who had a shirt we could borrow.
I let Collin wear his Pack t-shirt, and we brought his uniform shirt.
Right before his den was getting ready for their part of the ceremony, I asked Collin if he wanted to wear his uniform shirt, and said yes. I moved fast, just in case he changed his mind!
One change I noticed with Collin, especially during Covid, he bonded with his brother. Everything Jonah did, he wanted to do it as well.
Sometimes that can be a blessing and other times not so much. But it worked for tonight, and I was okay with it.
I was in awe of Collin. He followed directions, took part, and loved every minute.
The boys below have so much to do with Collin enjoying Scouting. They were always so wonderful and accepting of Collin.
There comes a time when you reach a place in your Autism journey where you are okay and you realize your child is thriving and Autism is just a small part of him and he has so much more to offer.