Yesterday I was swimming in an indoor pool and struck up a conversation with a father and his 9 year-old son. Turned out his son has Autism, and when he was off doing other things in the water, his father, Greg, opened up to me about his experience with Autism. Once I told him that I have a training program for children’s yoga and that we have a special place in our heart for “Autism Yoga”, he really warmed up to me. This is the story Greg told me:
“When Nick was a baby and we found out he had Autism, I was very scared that it would be so hard, and sometimes it was. He didn’t have language for many years, then finally he began talking. But being with him is so special, the way he looks at life is so interesting. It’s funny but at some point I realized that if I had a choice about whether he would be like a regular kid, or as he is—I would definitely choose him as he is.” Greg said this last part with the biggest smile coming straight from his heart.
He went on. “Nick just thinks differently, and it sometimes blows me away. Like one time I was really stressed out, going through some hard things with my work. Nick and his sister were in the car with me. We were getting ready to drive somewhere and they were fussing at each other. I told them I had a short fuse and needed them to calm down. Nick got up in the front seat without a word, fished through my CDs and found one with no label—and put it on. Said to me “put on track seven”. It was Stevie Wonder singing Have a Talk with God. It was just what I needed to hear. I lost it….just cried with emotion and happiness when he did that. How did he know? I don’t know. He just is special that way, guess it is the Autism. I don’t know.”
I so appreciated Greg letting me into his confidence and telling me this beautiful story. In giving back, I told him something that made him smile, something he could take with him and remember when times got hard with his son. I said, “In our Yoga for Children with Autism course we have a saying that goes like this; Special Needs? Maybe, but we prefer to think of them Children with Special Intentions!”
I think it made his day to hear that!