While on our last beach trip, Laura occupied herself with her usual activity of picking up half the seashells on the shore. She doesn’t like to go into the ocean but finds the sound of the waves very calming as she collects her shells. There are many people that enjoy this pastime.
I was sitting reading my book while keeping an eye on her as she walked the shoreline. When she was done she brought her treasures, balanced carefully on top of her purple flip-flops which she carried like a tray, and placed them on the ground by our canvas chairs. She then sat in her chair, picked up her book and began to read. I didn’t think too much about it, because it is a normal beach activity.
The sun was setting and the wind was picking up, so I let Laura know it was time to call it a day. I quickly grabbed my tote bag and folded up my chair then I turned to see if Laura was ready. To my chagrin, she wasn’t. Instead she was bent over her bounty from the sea, carefully picking up each cherished shell and finding a special pocket for it in her yellow purse.
I bit my tongue because these sentences were ready to hurl out of my mouth, “Laura, what are you doing? Why didn’t you do that when you first brought them up? Hurry up, you don’t need to pick them up one by one, just dump them in your purse and let’s go!”
After years of dealing with her behavior, I have realized that this is part of who she is as a person. She wasn’t trying to be difficult because in her world time doesn’t exist. I knew I could pull the “Mama card” rushing her to keep up with my timetable but I decided it would be better to unfold my chair to make myself comfortable because this was going to take a while.
I watched as she intently examined each shell and put it in its proper pocket. It was at that moment when I realized her disability had taught me to sit back, take a deep breath, and give patience a chance. It’s challenging for me, in this fast pace world, to slow down for Laura.
There is a balance to make sure when I rush Laura that there is a true need for her to follow the world’s clock. And when it is just my own selfish inner clock pushing to be in control, I need to keep my mouth shut. Also, making sure my body language radiates a tranquil appearance, whether I feel it or not.
Laura finally finished and folded up her chair. I followed suit thinking we can finally go back to the house because the sun was now behind the beach houses, the tide was almost in, and the wind was whipping grains of sand into my skin.
Yet, I realized my next lesson in patience was upon me once more, as I watched Laura battle to put her chair in its nylon covering. I knew it was part of her routine and that she wanted to do it by herself. So again, I unfolded my chair, sat down, and finished watching the sunset.
Patience is the treasure I have learned from Laura.
Written by: Sabrina (Laura’s Mom)
Who has the disability?
Yet, if you asked me to draw and paint like Laura, you would think I was the one with the disability.
We all have disabilities. Some of us are just able to hide them better than others.
All pictures are property of Mamabeanablog.wordpress.com and Loupieart.wordpress.com
Over the past 18 years we have owned a small herd of goats. The herd would grow by the “natural way” and also with buying a few goats along the way. Some goats were very easy to tell apart and others looked identical, at least they did to us but not for Laura. She has a natural ability to see the tiniest details of our world as if it was outlined in black marker.
Is this a positive attribute from her disability? I believe it is. In her world every dot, line, mark, and blur is important because everything must be categorized in her mind to help her cope with our world. The things we take for granted she can’t. For us it would be time consuming and overwhelming, an overload to our senses. Yet, for her it comes more natural than walking.
On the farm we depend on her unique capability to help us with the expansion of our herd. In her mind, she has kept the entire genealogy of every goat we have ever owned. This helps us keep the inbreeding down to a minimum. She may forget to fill their water trough or turn off the water hose, which creates a river in our yard, but she never forgets the individual characteristics of each goat.
As Laura has developed her own artistic style, she continues to focus on those intricate details to achieve the perfect design for a house, princess, flower, or a piece of furniture. All she needs from me is to keep track of our world’s clock for her. It is fine for her to retreat from us to create her visions but she must be pulled back into our daily lives, so life doesn’t pass her by. This is the balance we have found as a family of seven dealing with autism. Laura uses her amazing gift to help us on the farm and we keep up with the basics to help her survive in this world.
**All pictures and artwork are the property of Loupieart.wordpress.com and mamabeanablog.wordpress.com
Sisters are different.
Sisters with autism are very different.
Each are Beautiful!
and are full of love!
Laura’s sisters cut out their pumpkins but Laura wanted to paint hers. Even though she had gone through the trouble of gutting her pumpkin, she didn’t want to follow the normal plan. I have learned, as her mama, that this kind of outside the box thinking is okay. It is her normal. I am often pleasantly surprised at how wonderful her normal can be.