The most common observation I hear about my youngest son (the one without autism), is how happy he is. He’s always ready with a smile and a laugh. If he falls as he’s toddling around, he gets up and throws himself back into the joyful task of learning to walk. He’s easy to amuse; the world fascinates him and he wants to experience it all. People find him remarkably happy, even for a child his age. He makes everyone smile too, it’s beautifully infectious.
In contrast my eldest (who has autism), has not had a particularly happy childhood, despite our very best efforts to give him one. Small things could set off intense meltdowns, simple things that brought other children joy and laughter, would confuse and frighten him. He could smile, but didn’t do it a lot. He had to be taught to allow others to hug and kiss him, and eventually learnt to initiate these expressions of happiness and affection. He’s gone through a lot in the past few years, our whole family has, as we’ve used various therapies to bring more joy and less anxiety into his life.
So what happened this morning as he got on the taxi shuttle for school, was all the more special:
The same taxi driver ferries my son to and from school everyday, along with the other special-needs children in the class. This morning, (as has become usual), my very happy little man climbed into the taxi, sporting the smile he wears more and more often over the past few months. The taxi driver shuts the door then turns to me to share a simple little comment: “He’s a happy child!”
Yes. Yes he is 🙂