I go to a coffee shop to work on my laptop and just think when Gavin is at preschool twice a week. He has only been going for a few months and missed quite a few days as well. On some days I had to do other things during that time and didn’t get that me time. In these handful of times I have been here, I’ve been able to tune out most of the sounds of people talking, slurping their coffee, and ignore the smell of bagels roasting too long. But as usual in my life, I keep getting these blips of autism pointed right into my direction. It makes me wonder “why me?” or it just means that autism is truly becoming an epidemic.
Today is my first day back to the coffee shop since Thanksgiving break. Gavin only has one more day of preschool until he starts ABA therapy, then I won’t be at this coffeeshop for a long time. But the autism reminder dropped right on me in the nick of time. Two ladies around my age are talking near me and I am listening to music, but I can hear sometimes that they are talking about their kids and preschool. After researching some things for about an hour, I suddenly hear one of them say something about sensory needs. I mute my music and she says, “…brother does this flapping thing when he gets excited” and she flaps her arms just like my oldest son does. It’s times like these I almost feel like saying something to them and agreeing, “I couldn’t help but hear you – my son does that too!” because I’m so eager to talk about all of this and it consumes most of my life. But I don’t, because I am tired. She continues to tell her friend that he must do it because he can’t contain his excitement. Then her friend goes into how parents don’t want them to do that because others might think it’s weird.
It seems like that boy is just like my oldest. He probably doesn’t have any other “symptoms” and is just a happy flapper. He skated by autism on the tiniest scrape of a blade. But Gavin was almost consumed by it.
I continue to be amazed, or shocked, that so many people are touched by this.
I don’t know any other kids who flap. But I happen to stop into a coffee shop and sit right next to someone who has a flapper in their family.
Am I noticing people with autism because I am so enveloped in it? Am I hearing stories about autism and sensory processing because I am listening for it? Or is really just sadly drenching the world?