“Can you say, Junior, Courtney,” asks Grandpa as they are petting their dog, Junior.
“Bampa, she don’t talk” says Alyssa.
The conversation first stung. Proof that there will always be moments that autism will sting. I only let it sting for a moment and then I let myself think how awesome it is that this little 3 year old is already coming to such an understanding of her sister.
I did make this moment a teaching moment. I explained to Alyssa that though Courtney doesn’t talk like us she is learning to talk and learning to use her talker.
A while back I asked on an autism mom Facebook group when and how others explained autism to the siblings. So many answered that it wasn’t a sit down talk, it was an ongoing process. That’s making so much sense to me now.
I am finding part of the process of Alyssa understanding Autism beautiful. Those who really know us know how stubborn Princess Alyssa is. She is a threenanger to the core! Getting her to do things for me is impossible. Except when I ask her to keep an eye on her sister. We were at the Doctor’s office the other day and I needed to fill out a form. Asked Alyssa to keep an eye on Courtney and sure enough she grabbed Courtney’s hand and walked around the waiting room with her for those 3 minutes.
One thing that’s been hard to explain to Alyssa is why Courtney does certain “bad” things without getting in trouble but when she does the same thing she gets in trouble.
Alyssa has been struggling like most 3 year olds with sharing toys. At her park district class she pulled another girl’s hair when she didn’t get the toy she wanted. The nanny talked to her afterwards about it and Alyssa’s response was, “but Courtney pulls my hair”. Well, she is right. Not easy to teach a 3 year old that the consequences will be different because of their different needs.
I chose one of the pictures for this post because it was taken during therapy. Alyssa is very much part of some of the sessions because part of our autism journey is teaching them how to play together. I love these moments and hopefully more of these moments will just happen on their own.
Learning about autism will be a process for Alyssa, just as it is for all of us. It’s a journey, but a journey we love.”