Tonight, Atticus declared, “I wish I wasn’t autistic.”
I chose to reply truthfully: “So do I.”
“It’s sad, isn’t it? It’s heartwarming.”
“You mean heartbreaking?” I asked.
“Yes, heartbreaking,” he replied. “But the good news is I can communicate. There are lots of people out there who can’t communicate. Not even when they’re twenty years old. I get confused sometimes, but I can talk.”
“Yes, we are truly blessed. And I thank God every day that you began talking.”
“You do?” He asked – seemingly surprised.
“Yes.” I said.
“Oh, that’s so sweet,” he said as he walked over to me, wrapped his arms around me, and gave me a kiss.
He then went back to writing in his notebook – an obsession that has occupied a great deal of his time since he was three years old.
Through the years, I’ve often wondered if he thinks about autism and how it affects his life. Lately he has been asking more and more questions. He’s noticing the differences between himself and his “typical” school mates, but he also notices the differences between himself and other autistic children that he encounters – some verbal, some not.
At the tender age of ten, he’s trying to put the pieces together and figure it all out. Why the differences? Why do I talk and others don’t? Why am I different from my school friends? Do I belong? Am I good enough?
When questions cloud his judgment, and cause him to feel alone, I remind him that he should always remember to whom he belongs and that he was “fearfully and wonderfully made,” by a God who loves and adores him.
Don’t let the world determine who you are, sweet Atticus. Don’t let them determine your worth. You are worthy! You are valuable! God said so. You can believe it.
Luke 12:6-7 (KJV) Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.