The Pendulum Swings of Autism

Autism is generally referred to as a “spectrum disorder”. All this means is that no two cases of autism are exactly alike. It manifests itself in different ways, in different people. After the weekend we had, I wonder if we could also categorize each day living with autism as “spectrum” days – no one day looks exactly like another.

On Friday night, Melinda and Anna’s school had a fundraiser walk/run. We had paid $30.00 to enter and participate in the activities. Unfortunately, we got to the school and Anna refused to get out of the car. By the time we figured out we weren’t going to make the event, we were stuck as they had closed the roads leading in and out of the school for the walk/run. So, basically we paid $30.00 to sit in the parking lot for 20 minutes. Lovely.

Fast forward to Sunday. Someone at church gave us tickets to see “Disney on Ice”. With excitement, mixed with fear, we accepted the generous offer and drove into Nashville. This time it was different. She not only went, but she had a fantastic time. As a matter of fact, she woke up this morning happy as could be, begging to go again.

I can point to dozens of other days where she is fully engaged and cooperative, and others where she refuses to do anything. We just never know which day today is. I can’t explain it, just like I can’t explain why she can do some things other kids with autism can’t, or they can do things she can’t.

Now you know why the international symbol for autism is a puzzle piece.