Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Autism Awareness Month: Meet Jacob Barnett

I love Jacob's story, not just because he is amazing and appreciates his autism, but because his parents didn't try to change him to fit their ideas of who he should be. They took notice of what engaged him and embraced it, using his interests to connect with him, and allow him to feel safe and confident in himself. I admire them for this.

And this is the gift we try to give our kids.

Acceptance and complete support.

My son has not displayed a genius talent for math or astrophysics, nor do I have any expectation that he will. But when I watched Jacob for the first time, I was almost unsettled at how many similarities I observed between him and Zak. Then it made me smile a lot, and cry a little, because I felt reaffirmation that we are on the right track as a family. While their passions are focused on different things, the excitement with which they both talk about what they love is so similar. The knowledge and interests ahead of their years paired with such innocence and emotion. Such a precious combination that so few adults in the world manage to hold on to.

And I am reminded that indulging their world sometimes makes ours all the richer and more vibrant.

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