Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Count Your Blessings

Today while I was rocking Carson to sleep for his nap, I flipped the television on and True Life was on. I proceeded to click information and find out what episode of True Life it was. For those who don't know of this show, it comes on MTV. It is an hour long show that takes you through the lives of a few people who all have the same issue. Some episodes in the past have been True Life I'm a Civilian Again, True Life I'm in Debt, True Life I'm a Competitive Eater, True Life I'm Backpacking through Europe, and the list goes on. Today's episode that I watched was True Life I have Autism. My brother had told me about this episode so I wanted to watch it. Plus as a teacher, I will have some autistic children in my classroom at one point or another. Needless to say, I was entrigued.
The episode followed three different boys who had various levels of autism. I took away something from each of them. One boy couldn't talk very well so his parents got him a lightwriter so that he could communicate better. (A lightwriter is a little portable machine that one types in the words he wishes to say and the lightwriter says them. It's really nifty!) This particular boy was turning 18 soon. He never had anyone his age over to his house or at his birthday parties. This year he was going to ask everyone to his birthday party with his lightwriter. All of the kids said yes and it turned out great. Before the party the boy said that having people his age at his birthday party would be the best day of his life. I started to get misty eyed. My friends always came over a lot. I always had tons of people at my birthday parties. It was amazing to me the one thing that would give him the best day of his life is something that "normal people" take for granted. We may complain about our friends or not being in the popular crowd, but we have friends who we know love us and come to our house and birthday parties. It's such a simple act to come to a birthday, but it meant so much to this kid. It just really made me stop and think.
Another boy on the show was spectacular with art. Anyone who knows me knows that I am horrible with art. I cannot be artistic to save my life. This boy had an art show in New York with all of his work. It was amazing! It made me stop and think again. Many times if we see someone different from us out at the mall or grocery store what do we think? We may stare. We may have pity on that person thinking that they cannot do anything in life. However, I'm sure that we don't stop and say you know they're disabled so I can obviously see what I can do that they can't, but I wonder what they can do that I can't. It just made me think.
The last boy on the show wanted to be a comedian. He did lots of stand up. He learned that he could do what a lot of other comics do...address their weaknesses in their acts. He was afraid to at first. He was scared that everyone would look at him differnt knowing he was autistic. He decided to try it and had a wonderful act! We all have trials in our lives that we must overcome. These boys were doing their best to overcome their autism. I just really enjoyed that episode.
Watching it made me feel so grateful for the little things in life. When Carson is destroying the house, instead of getting frustrated I should just be grateful to have him here and for him to be healthy. There are so many things to be thankful for.