Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fun, Sun, and Seagulls

I confess to not being overly fond of seagulls. Austin, however, is completely enthralled with them. He has practically worn out the seagull section of his birdbook and has perused the internet for every piece of info he could find on the creatures. As we departed on a vacation to the shore, the seagulls were what he most looked forward to seeing. He can identify by sight or sound each type of gull. Not only that, but he can imitate their calls with suprisingly convincing accuracy. This then, is the engaging side of his disorder.

Austin's favorite birding website is Cornell's All About Birds.

Then there is the other side--the side I've mainly stopped worrying about explaining to strangers. This is the side that sent Austin screaming when we tried to persuade him to ride the kiddie bumper cars. This is the side that compelled him to lock himself in the hotel bathroom because he couldn't tolerate all our "blabberdy-blabbering" (known to us as conversation). This is also the side that had him loudly calling the two women in the pool with us "wimpy donkeys".

But, being the parent of a child with autism has taught me to celebrate the smallest gains and improvements. Austin may not have gone on the bumper cars, but he did get (twice) on a different ride in which the cars go around a small track. He may not go in for conversation, but he managed to write a three-sentence postcard to his grandparents. And, for the first time ever, he did not sob inconsolably all the way home because vacation was over. And, for me, that is the best souvenir ever.

Carter (left) and Austin (right) check out some African penguins.

No comments:

Post a Comment