Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006


This picture is from when Griffin and I were seperated over the holidays and he was staying at his teacher's house, Kathleen's. Here Griffin has fallen asleep to the sound of mommy's voice on the telephone. Is that adorable or what?

Griffin seems to be doing much better since I have gotten better and my depression has decreased significantly. Isn't it strange yet wonderful that our children are so intuitive. I mean, it is strange because it is so eerie that he can pick up on all my emotions whether or not I am even aware of them. It is wonderful because we have developed a deep, strong, and meaningful relationship due to Griffin's ability to bond. Griffin is a very affectionate little guy who loves to give hugs and kisses freely. He also asks to "snuggle" when he is ready to go to sleep.

Sometimes I wonder about what has been said about autistic children/individuals not being able to feel empathy because I have seen glimpses of it in Griffin. Just the other day when I was so frustrated that I started to cry, Griffin stopped what he was doing and looked me straight in the eye and made this face of sadness as if he was feeling my anguish. It looked as though he was about to cry as well and as soon as I saw this I smiled. Not because it made me happy that he was feeling sad but because it was a sign that he was feeling empathy for his mommy and that was a big step. Whether the steps are big or small Griffin walks right into my heart and opens the door every time leaving me with a greater appreciation of life. Each moment I learn to not take for granted and to treasure those special times as they occur because one just never knows when there may not be another moment to share.

There are times of frustration and anger that cause me to lose track of what is most important and get wrapped up in the past or the future. Those times create a rift between me and my loved ones. This is when I must capture that moment take hold of it and savor it and welcome the challenges that come with it. That is when I can truly cherish all that the autism has to offer and every aspect of my son's difficulties and gifts.

I would love for you to share your stories with me of how your child shows emotions or some moment that you have found to be particularly poignant.


Octoberbabies said...

As you've read on my blog, the bond between my kids is very, very strong. About a year ago, we knew something was "not quite right" with India but didn't know what. This was before she'd gotten her diagnosis and it was painfully clear that she was rather distant from all of us, including Isaac. I remember one day, we were coming back from the grocery store and I was holding India, the husband was carrying all the groceries and Isaac was walking on his own. Well, Isaac tripped trying to climb up the stairs and fell and bit his tongue. He was in a LOT of pain and crying a great deal. Well, India just about freaked out. I remember her perched on my hip and reaching for him with her entire little body and her arms outstretched screaming "Izeeeeee, Izeeeee!!!" . It was the first time I'd seen her so "aware" of the people around her.

She and Isaac have developed a spectacular bond in the past year but I will always remember that moment as the first sign that India was "with us" she just hadn't figured out a way to tell us yet. Now she runs to us and gives us higs and kisses when we get home and is very, very sweet and affectionate.


Felicity said...

I *love* that picture of Griffin. My kids are not on the spectrum so they're pretty typical as far as showing their emotions, etc...I'm sorry, I have nothign to share about this topic. But I still love the picture.

gretchen said...


It's ironic- I just posted about this. I had a little flu or something this weekend and Henry seemed really concerned and kept rubbing my tummy. It actually did make me feel better- physically and emotionally, that he was showing his concern.

Whenever I "lose it", either when I start yelling or start crying, he seems to immediately feel sad, and sticks out his lip. And of course my heart melts.

Yes, I think our kids feel empathy. It may be more selective (like maybe Henry doesn't feel bad when he pinches a kid at school), but they definitely feel for us lucky ones who are close to them.

And the picture is too much. Griffin is a beauty. Oh, and my Henry likes to "snuggle" at bedtime too.

KCsMom said...

Hi Lora,
Griffin is such a cutie pie! This picture is so cute! I bet he'll love looking at it when he's older too:) Your voiced helped him to fall asleep, awwwww! Too cute!

Kristina Chew said...

The notion that autistic children have "no emotions"and also "lack empathy" is a terrible stereotype rooted in Bettelheimian "refrigerator mother" thinking. We've long posted on flyers (to seek ABA therapists) that "Charlie is an affectionate little boy who loves the company of other people."

Jenn said...

Matthew appears for the most part to not have any empathy for anyone but himself, but I know he does, he just has a hard time expressing it.
Once time when I was sad and crying I knew that he understood I was sad - he just didn't know how to deal with it. He got mad instead, and tried to put my tears back into my eyes.
that picture of Griffin listening to your voice is so sweet.

Eileen said...

Andrew feels much empathy when his brother cries. He will usually cry also.

That picture of Griffin sleeping with the phone on his ear is so precious!

peggyloumorgan said...

I don't think it is strange that Griffin picks up on your emotions at all. When Billy Ray was little and in Headstart he will just seem to know when I was having a bad day at work and want to call me. I would have the same sense about him. Some would make light of that especially since Billy Ray is adopted but I think it is the bond between mother and child not necessarily genetics.

The picture is adoreable.

mommyguilt said...

My Large & SmallBoys have a similar bond as Sal's IDGs. It's amazing. SmallBoy is VERY in tune with what others, at least his family, feel. When I'm sick or sad, he knows it and asks me about it, "Mom. why are you mad?" "Mom, what's wrong?" "Mom, why do you feel sick?" He's also a TREMENDOUS snuggler, so am I and so is the rest of my household.

I LOVE the pic! I love that he fell asleep listening to you. Maybe if he has difficulties falling asleep you can make him tapes of your voice - reading a story, just talking, singing, reciting a grocery list...whatever, but if it relaxes him that much, run with it!

Julie Julie Bo Boolie said...

That photo is just priceless. Isn't it wonderful how the little loves can pick up on even the most subtle of cues. Children have so much to teach us.

For me, I get slayed every time Chloe stops half way through nursing to rub my cheek or give me a kiss.. it's like she knows this is OUR special bonding time just for her and me and that as much as I think it's a pain I also cherish it as I know it won't be forever (or even for much longer).

Thanks for reminding me to live in the moment. It's the best lesson of all.

Sheila said...

THis is one of the sweetest pictures that I have ever seen and of course you can see the love in his quiet little face. One of my favorite memories is watching Griffin laughing and playing and then falling asleep in my lap with his peaceful little smile. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful thoughts and feelings about you and Griffin. You are in my thoughts daily. Talk to you soon.


Kiralea Powell said...

Hi Lora

First of all the photo of Griffin is just so magical. It brought tears to my eyes.
Jordan has a lot of emotions towards others and i will update my blog today about it. Its so great you can share those cherished moments with us all.
Take care
kiralea xx

Melissa said...

I love that picture. So sweet!

Joshua shows empathy for people. One example that comes to mind is when his 2yo sister was crying about something not working just right...he went up to her and said "Please don't cry. It will be ok". It was done completely on his own and was the sweetest thing to watch and hear.

MothersVox said...

Totally adorable picture of Griffin!

I'm glad to hear that you're feeling better . . . depression is something that autie moms have to be really careful about . . . heading it off at the pass . . . sometimes depression in autie moms is emotional, but sometimes it's simply energetic depletion, aka exhaustion.

Take care of yourself!

Emoticons said...