"Mom, I think my friend Dustin at school has autism too."
"Yes, but I think it might be a different kind of autism."
"What do you mean by a different kind?"
"Well, in some ways he is a lot like me, and in some ways he is different than me, but the ways he is like me I think are things that are special to autism."
He proceeded to tell me about how his friend Dustin perseverates on things like Mario & Luigi, the planets, and Sam (from Green Eggs & Ham). I talked to the Boy about how we are all different ie: boys/girls, different ages, likes/dislikes, etc. so that he could understand that whether one is autistic or neurotypical, we have ways that we are alike & ways we are different.
"But Mom, I don't think he knows he is autistic; he doesn't talk about it like we do in our house."
"Well honey, some parents wait to share this information with their kids. Some families aren't as open about it as we are. Some people, even adults, don't even know that they are on the autism spectrum."
"MOM THAT IS JUST WRONG!!!!"
"Whoa...why are you yelling at me?"
"If the doctor tells you that you have something, & you are a kid, you NEED to know about it--it's your body and your RIGHT to know!!!"
"Okay, I get it, but we can't judge others for whether or not they choose to share; they may have different struggles in their house. They may not have fantastic doctors, teachers, OT's, SLP's, & PT's on their team. We can support & love our friends. We can share our experiences if it will help others. Okay?"
"Okay. But Mom??"
"If it's your body, you have a right to know so that you know why things happen, tight?"
"I agree with you, son, but we are not going to judge someone if they do things differently."
"Sometimes I don't like my autism; like when I get into the bad realm, then have a meltdown."
"Me too honey, but we are working on things so you can control it when you get overloaded."
"Would you take it away from me if you could?"
"Well honey, that isn't possible."
"I know, but IF you could, would you?"
"Because if the autism was gone, I don't know if other awesome parts of your personality would be gone too. I love you for you, no matter what."
So....that is how I discovered just how my son is waayyy more observant than I ever knew. He sees autism in his classmate. He thinks that we all have a right to know things about our bodies. He asked a question I didn't think he would ask until he was older.
He's a keeper.....