Recently, Nate came with me to run a couple of errands, and we stopped first at Starbucks. While I drank my coffee and Nate drank his apple juice, I asked, “You’ve heard how sometimes I say that you have autism?”
“Yes,” he replied.
I asked, “Do you know what that means?”
“Yes!” he said. “Well, no. I don’t.”
“It means there are extra special things about your brain,” I explained. “You know how you’re really good at some things? Like you can read? I don’t know any other 4 year olds who can read like you can. And what else are you really good at?”
“Playing games!” he chimed in. “And playing cards!”
“Yes!” I agreed. “And you can remember things really well–you have a great memory. And you are so smart.”
“Yes, I am,” he beamed.
“Those are some of the extra special things about your brain. And of course, there are things that are harder for you, too. Like you know how you have a hard time letting others go first?”
“Oh yeah,” he dismissed, already thinking of changing the subject.
“Well, that’s what autism means for you. You just have extra special things about your brain. Cool, huh?”
“Yeah! Cool!” he replied.
And then we were on to a new subject, and that was that.