Autism, a picture, and a beautiful lesson

Tulika Prasad


If you ever get to visit my house or scroll through my phone’s camera roll or browse my social media posts, you’ll know that I’m obsessed with my son’s pics. Like every other mom out there, I feel like my son is the most charming, handsome and adorable child on the planet. So it won’t come as a surprise that I was recently showing off my son’s pics to a coworker. Besides, sharing your kids pics is how you turn from acquaintances to friends, right?

So, as I showed her my cherished pics, I passingly mentioned that all of my son’s pics could have been way better if only he would look at the camera. Without a pause, she promptly replied, “If you could see the heavens, would you want to look anywhere else?” I was a little perplexed at her response. It didn’t make sense to me at first. It took me a moment and then it dawned upon me that she was talking about my son!

She went on to explain that for someone like my son who has such a pure heart, it’s very easy to form a connection with God and that he can see the beauty of God and the heavens that we otherwise fail to see. Now, I can’t really call myself a believer, but this just struck a chord with me. It sounded beautiful! Much more beautiful than saying, “he is zoned out” or “he lives in his own world” or “he stares into nothingness” or that “he has very poor eye contact”. She talked about my son in a way I didn’t. In a brief moment, she taught me to look at things differently - to stop complaining and start admiring.

As mom to a son who has autism there have been several occasions where I’ve complained about what is not “right” about my son or pointed out something in him that seemed deviant. I’ve said things in front of him that, if he could talk, he would say, was demotivating to him. I’m guilty of all of this. Now this wonderful coworker of mine suddenly gave me the lesson of my life without even being mean or judgmental. I was taught to look at the beauty of my son instead of finding faults; she showed me how to appreciate him the way he is and not always want more out of him.

My faith in God may be questionable, but the romance her simple statement brought about was memorable, memorable enough for me to suspend my logic and just believe in what she said. Occasionally, suspending your logic is not such a bad thing, because sometimes logic fails to see the smile behind the science.

With feeling overwhelmed with so much that goes on every day with my son and his challenges, sometimes it all seems like a chore and I forget to pause and just watch him grow at his pace instead of complaining about his delays. I forget to see the twinkle in his eyes instead of looking for the overhyped eye contact. I miss out on the laughter because I’m so focused on his “lack of emotion.” I ignore his intelligence because I’m so hung up on his A-B-Cs. There is so much that’s right in front of my eyes that I forget to cherish and appreciate because I’m busy lamenting over things that I shouldn’t.

There probably always will be some challenges with my son. He has developmental delays and a diagnosis of autism. I cannot change that, and I cannot pretend it’s a smooth sail. What can make it easy is looking at things a little differently, and realizing that the black and whites are actually made up of a rainbow of colors...and most importantly, remember to flaunt your child’s pictures, because a little exchange of picture can sometimes help you see a better picture.


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