Parents of children with autism are all looking for a way into their child’s world. Autism encloses people inside like a turtle shell. But every once in a blue moon, if you’re lucky, you find a way in or they peek outside.
I’m fortunate to have found a window into my son’s world. My son fell in love with reading early on. He’s twice exceptional, which sounds like a positive thing, but if you have a 2e kid, you know that it’s rife with challenges. There’s been one silver lining through it all and that’s been an early love and aptitude for reading.
When my son was three, his preschool teacher told me to not encourage him because he would be bored when he got to Kindergarten. But I ignored her request. Reading calmed him down and made bedtime somewhat manageable.
As a professional writer and an avid reader, I can’t even tell you how much it warms my heart to often find him squirreled away somewhere with his nose stuck in a book. At last I found something to share with him! I joyfully join him in quiet reading time and listen to him give detailed analysis of the books he reads. If he asks for a new book, I get him one without question. Read at the table during dinner? Yes!
Now that my son’s a preteen and wracked with big autism feelings and hormones, reading is still one of my go-tos when it comes to calming him down. Since he reads so far above his grade level, we now also do book club, where we read and discuss novels together. We plan to tackle Harry Potter soon.
The true bliss came this month when he started to write a novel. Just like his mom, he’s in love with storytelling. It’s another way we can connect. His stories are clever and funny. One day he said we are going to write together and be famous co-authors. It’s something I look forward to.
So much of the time, my boy is in his own world—one that I don’t have access to. So when I get a chance to spend time with the child within, I jump at it.
The fact that the two things he loves best are things I love too is just gravy.
K.M. Hodge lives in Texas with her husband and two energetic boys, and enjoys writing tales of suspense and intrigue that keep her readers up all night. Her stories, which focus on women’s issues, friendship, addiction, regrets and second chances, will stay with you long after you finish them. When she isn’t writing or being an agent of social change, she reads independent graphic novels, watches old “X-Files” episodes, streams Detroit Tigers games, and binges on Netflix with her husband.