Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down.
I think most special needs parents can relate to that famous lyric. Becoming a parent drastically changes your life, but then finding out all your kids have special needs flips everything on its head.
It was devastating at first, to say the least. Everyone in my family, myself included, got life-changing diagnoses within six months of each other.
But then I started watching Ethan, who has Autism with severe speech apraxia, begin to learn how to stand on his head. This wasn’t a surprise as his gross motor skills rival typical kids twice his age. I enrolled him in gymnastics when he was just two years old, and he has thrived ever since. But there was something about him standing on his head that fascinated me.
It seemed to regulate him. It appeared to ground him and reset his body. But that’s not all; it gave him a new perspective on what he was dealing with at that moment.
Before Ethan was diagnosed with Autism, I had a preconceived, misinformed idea of what Autism was. It wasn’t until I “stood on my head” that I saw things differently. Sure, Ethan has some struggles and weaknesses that we are working on with help and support from Autism BC, but he also has some incredible strengths — like standing on his head.
Autism has changed my perspective on life. Nothing is typical anymore, including days like Father’s Day. But that doesn’t ruin it for me, Ethan has just taught me to stand on my head and approach it from a different angle.
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