questions from a little girl

today i took Anshu to the community center by his house. he can spend hours entertaining himself in the pool and hot tub, so it’s always a go-to when i’m with him for 8 hours on saturdays. we got to the pool after a car ride full of pouting. he was throwing a little hissy fit all the way into the locker room until…he pooped! now, that might be too much information…but it’s always a good day when he knows what he needs to do and turns on his tunnel vision to the toilet.

after the bathroom debacle and a quick soapy shower we were on our way to the pool. today the water was extremely cold in the pool and only luke warm in the hot tub. i’m not a fan of cold water. i take almost boiling hot showers and hose water is only good for drinking. to me, the pool was out of the question, so i slipped into the hot tub and Anshu followed closely. we were sitting there for a while, along with a few other kids and adults. he was in between me and a little girl who was probably 6 or 7 years old. he started having some behavior issues to i encouraged him to go into the pool (usually his behavior issues come with boredom) and he flailed his arms, screeched and hopped out of the hot tub. after he was a few feet away the girl next to him looked at me and said:

girl: does he have a disability?
me: he’s got a different ability…he has autism.
girl: oh! (pause) what’s that again?

i went on to explain that he feels things different and has a different way of showing his emotions. she said, “oh, cool!”, put on her goggles, and sunk into the bubbly water almost too fast for her to hear me say, “thanks for asking” with a smile on my face.

this just goes to show that kids are curious, they want to learn, and they aren’t prewired to judge or dislike people. now, i think this girl has someone close to her with a different ability or goes to a school with inclusion because she sounded very familiar with the subject. either way, that little girl made me realize, once again, how outstanding young minds are. within the short month i’ve been working with Anshu i have gotten plenty of stares from adults who know nothing about him or his situation. that’s not to say that everyone we pass while we’re out glares at us and snickers behind our backs though. i have had some gentle people, like the little girl, who are genuinely interested in Anshu.

one of the lifeguards there told me she sees him walking up and down a road by his house sometimes with another girl. when she mentioned the road i told her that he lives right around that area and he loves to take walks so it’s completely possible it was him. every time i go to the pool with Anshu she is there, smiling away, trying to get close enough to him to say hi without him shying away. today, when we were on our walk after dinner a car slowed down next to us. i was weary until i realized it was that same lifeguard. she said, “two times in one day! how could i be so lucky!” we went on to talk about how it was a nice day and what her plans for the evening were and then she drove off. it’s interactions like that that leave a smile on my heart.

some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; i am thankful that thorns have roses.“–Alphonse Karr

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