Kindness Korner #9

Embracing each other’s differences!

“We don’t always have to be the same or agree on the same things to be kind to one another. Embracing each other’s differences is loving, and kind and… can make life wonderfully interesting!

“There are many ways your child on the autism spectrum can look or speak or behave ‘differently’ to other children in your community, in your family, or at their school. Maybe your child…- won’t look at people who are talking to them- insists the answers to their questions be expressed in only one specific way- speaks with a unique tone- walks on their toes- acts out their favorite video many times each day- lines their favorite toys up along the wall that no one can touch.

“Our children on the autism spectrum are different often in beautiful and unusual ways. Maybe you don’t like to see your son on the spectrum appear differently from his peers. Maybe you wish your daughter would stop her repetitive behaviors. At the Autism Treatment Center of America, we understand the desire to want your child to ‘fit in’ as it is quite common for many people in our world to look at your child’s unique behaviors with judgment, maybe even fear.

“I remember when riding my school bus to elementary school, I experienced a young man with Downs’ Syndrome for the first time and felt fear. I was simply afraid of him looking and behaving differently from anything I had experienced in my 8 years on the planet. This is because I was ‘taught’ to fear the differences in others. When that young man then sat beside me on the bus and turned a huge grin on me, my 8-year-old self decided I would like him. I saw beyond his different appearance and realized what a sweet soul he had. After that moment, we became best of friends… and, I learned from him to love the differences in others. He was spectacular at seeing the world differently than anyone I knew, and I loved him for teaching me that a different perspective is a beautiful gift offered.

“Take a moment to reflect: is embracing others’ differences easy… or, is it challenging for you? Do you see all your child’s so-called ‘differences’ as something wonderful… maybe beneficial… or, even fun? I know that whenever I have opened myself to appreciate, even celebrate, the ‘unusual’ behaviors of our children on the spectrum, it benefits me personally… and our relationship benefits greatly.

“Our Kindness focus for this week: Embracing each other’s differences! It is a great way to add fun, interest, and adventure to your life!”

Suzanne Pruss, Son-Rise Program Teacher

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