April is Autism Awareness Month – a cause that is very close to my heart. Our daughter Maggie (12 years old) is on the spectrum. My nephew Frankie is too. I also have several friends with children on the spectrum. Spectrum. Spectrum. Spectrum. Autism is not the same for every child diagnosed and every family has its own challenges in day-to-day situations.
One way we get through the trials and tribulations of our life with autism is to laugh. Because sometimes, if you don’t laugh, you will cry. Our Maggie makes laughing very easy. Read on…you’ll see.
My 12-year-old daughter Maggie has autism. That is NOT funny, but THAT does not define her. This child lights up every room and is the funniest person I know.
Her quips, questions and quirks, have always stirred up smiles and laughter from those who know her. And even those who don’t.
Some typical samples of her non-typical innocence:
Maggie’s take on bathroom graffiti:
On our way to the beach, the kids had to use the bathroom. We stopped at a shopping center along the way. While in the ladies room, this conversation happened:
Maggie: “Mom can I have your phone?”
Me: “Why Maggie?”
Maggie: “Well, it says right here, ‘for a good time, call….'”
Maggie’s take on Martin Luther King Day:
“Hey mom, you know what? I should write a book about Martin Luther King. It would be called ‘BLACK OR WHITE, YOU’RE ALRIGHT.’”
Maggie’s take on church:
My mother brought my children to church. Maggie received communion. Then my mother. Meanwhile, Maggie went to receive the cup (wine). No one told her to – she just did, following the person before her.
SHE DRANK THE WHOLE THING. Gulped it down.
We tried not to make a big deal about it – just told her she didn’t have to do it again (she didn’t like it). With that, Maggie tells me, “Mom, I have a little bit of a headache.”
Yeah Maggie, I’ve been there.
Maggie’s take on kitchen accidents:
Situation: Spills some of her morning milk.
Maggie’s reaction: “There’s no reason to cry…so they say.”
Maggie’s take on Christmas:
“Joey, in case you are on the naughty list…and I think you might be…if you only get coal from Santa, I will give you half my toys.”
Maggie’s take on the President:
Her letter to the President read, in part, follows:
“If you are Barac O’bama, your wife is beautiful! It’s nice to have you as presedent.” Yadda, yadda, yadda… “I’ve also wanted to tell you how I can make America great! You can help others and yourself, helping the envierment and other stuff I can think of. I hope your glad of your presedent life. Please write back soon. Your friend, Maggie
And yes, she received a letter back…despite her misspellings.
Maggie’s take on the school bus:
(As her mini-bus pulls up to the house on the morning of her birthday)
Maggie: “My chariot awaits. See you after school mommy.”
Maggie’s take on kissing boys:
While driving with Maggie, somehow blah blah blah led to….
Me: “Maggie do you want to kiss a boy one day?”
Maggie: “Nah….they just turn out lazy!”
Out of the mouths of babes.
Maggie’s take on the Marriott Monkey Marquis:
Me: “Maggie do you want to go with mommy to New York City to celebrate a special birthday weekend?”
Maggie: “Sounds great mommy. Where would we go?”
Me: “We would stay at the Marriott Marquis.”
Maggie: “Wait a minute. Are there a lot of monkeys there?”
Me: “Huh? What do you mean?”
Maggie: “Well, you said it was the ‘Marriott Monkey.’”
Maggie’s take on the world:
“God makes the most beautiful portrait of this world we are living in. It’s like a flipbook, and God turns the pages.”
If humor is that which makes us smile, I hope these examples of Maggie’s take on the world made you belly laugh (or at least chuckle so your parts jiggled).
You can’t make this stuff up.
1 in 68. 1 IN 68. ONE IN SIXTY-EIGHT. Did you hear that? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children in multiple communities in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This new estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than previous estimates reported in 2012 of 1 in 88 children being identified with an autism spectrum disorder.
If you suspect that your child may have ASD:
- Talk to your child’s doctor about your concerns.
- At the same time, call your local early intervention program or school system for a free evaluation.
- It’s never too late to get help for your child.
And please, always try to practice acceptance with those who have a disability.