Last night, in a discussion with a friend, I was told I needed to stop treating Sam like he is different.
Now, I can't stop thinking about this.
Sam has been different since the day he was born:
- He was only 24 weeks at birth, but was considered large for his "age".
- He was off the vent in 3 days and never looked back.
- He never had a brain bleed.
- He was out of the NICU before his due date.
- His lungs have always been strong.
- He has only (yes - only) had two specialists... But never overlapping.
- He is autistic, but in a unique and different way.
- He is fully bilingual, but shows a dominance in Spanish even though he will no longer let me speak to him in Spanish.
In other words, I have known Sam was different from Day 1 and I have treated him as such.
But now, as Sam is preparing to turn five, I need to face the idea that treating Sam as different is no longer what is best for him. Now, treating him as different might be holding him back.
I want Sam to learn to swim, but have not put him in lessons out of fear that the teacher may not be trained to teach a kid with Autism.
I want Sam to participate in team sports - like soccer or baseball. Again, I have not signed him up because he is different.
Hell, I want Sam to have playdates, but have never arranged one because I am scared since Sam is different.
I think in all instances I am afraid Sam will fail or not be accepted so I am standing in the way and hiding behind the fact that Sam is different.
Can this be really as easy as my friend's advice and I just need to stop treating Sam like he is different?
Is that even something I will be able to do?
And... How do I do that?