The early days
Ever since I was a kid I didn’t really ‘get’ parties. I was very shy and did not really know what to do. I’m sure this is not uncommon and probably is very common among siblings of low-functioning autistic and other severely handicapped individuals. My parents were pretty busy with my older brother Michael, who, in addition to being autistic and low functioning, was nonverbal as well. Or, it could have just been something in me – autistic traits of my own that did not allow me to pick up on social cues. I don’t really think this was the case; it was probably the opposite: I interpreted social cues incorrectly, and negatively.
Why should this come up now?
My early days are well behind me, but I couldn’t help draw a comparison to the graduation party I went to today. The graduate was a really sweet kid: young, strong, good looking and a very respectful and considerate person. His friends were there and they were all respectful, considerate and – did I mention – young? It really got me thinking.
Perspective changes with age. There is so much a young person has to look forward to, assuming he or she can see beyond the troubles associated with youth. Parents or others can sometimes shepherd kids through these rough times and those that make it through can thrive through later stages of life. I venture to say that there is, in most cases, a looking back on what could have been done differently – perhaps a nostalgia for different choices.
It was really quite nice to see kids with clean slates, well adjusted and on the edge of their perches, so to speak, getting ready to stick their toes in the waters of adulthood, albeit from my own perch on the observation deck.