Due to autism, my son’s speech is limited, mostly requesting things he wants or needs. However, as his language continues to progress, we hear the occasional comment. It usually comes out of nowhere and surprises us, amazes us, sometimes makes up stop and think, and always makes us sit up and listen.
Today as we were walking back from church, he matter of factly says to me, “I am a superhero!” That was it, no other words, no actions, no play involved, just the words, “I am a superhero!”
I am pretty sure he really is.
Imagine living life knowing what you want to say, but not being able to express it. Imagine if you are sick, but can’t tell anyone. Imagine having a fear you can’t talk about it. Imagine the questions you would want answered, but can’t ask. Imagine if your entire sensory processing system didn’t work properly, the world is always too loud, too bright, too stimulating, too confusing. Imagine not being able to zip your jacket, or button you shirt; not because you don’t know how, but because there is a disconnect between what you want to happen and what your body will allow. Imagine being made fun of for what you have no control over. Imagine people ignoring you, talking about you. Imagine being frightened, lonely, hurting, wanting to give up.
I am pretty sure that is how the world feels to my son: overwhelming, scary, too hard. The thing is, instead of giving up, instead of becoming angry, instead of listening to all the negative, he carries on. He presses forward, he learns, he adapts, he grows. He takes the impossible and makes it happen. Isn’t that what a superhero does? They have unimaginable problems in everyday life, they have people who don’t believe in them, the odds are stacked against them, but somehow they still manage to do something amazing, and in the process, change the world around them…. A little bit at a time.
That describes my son exactly. When the speech therapist said he would never speak in sentences, he did it anyway. When the so called experts said not to bother teaching him to read, he learned to read anyway. When the other kids said, “he can’t do that,” he showed them he could. He is accomplishing the impossible. He is doing something amazing. He is changing the world a little bit at a time.
Yes, my dear son, you are indeed a superhero.