Autism Night Before Christmas ~~ By Cindy Waeltermann

Twas the Night Before Christmas
And all through the house
The creatures were stirring
Yes, even the mouse

We tried melatonin
And gave a hot bath
But the holiday jitters
They always distract

The children were finally
All nestled in bed
When nightmares of terror
Ran through my OWN head

Did I get the right gift
The right color
And style
Would there be a tantrum
Or even, maybe, a smile?

Our relatives come
But they don’t understand
The pleasure he gets
Just from flapping his hands

“He needs discipline.” they say
“Just a well-needed smack,
You must learn to parent…”
And on goes the attack

We smile and nod
Because we know deep inside
The arguement is moot
Let them all take a side

We know what it’s like
To live with the spectrum
The struggles and triumphs
Achievements, regressions…

But what they don’t know
And what they don’t see
Is the joy that we feel
Over simplicity

He said “hello”
He ate something green!
He told his first lie!
He did not cause a scene!

He peed on the potty
Who cares if he is ten.
He stopped saying the
same thing
Again and again!

Others don’t realize
Just how we can cope
How we bravely hang on
At the end of our rope

But what they don’t see
Is the joy we can’t hide
When our children with autism
Make the tiniest stride

We may look at others
Without the problems we face
With jealousy, hatred
Or even distaste.

But what they don’t know
Nor sometimes do we
Is that children with autism
Bring simplicity.

We don’t get excited
Over expensive things
We jump for joy
With the progress work brings

Children with autism
Try hard every day
That they make us proud
More than words can say.

They work even harder
Than you or I
To achieve something small
To reach a star in the sky

So to those who don’t get it
Or can’t get a clue
Take a walk in my shoes
And I’ll assure you

That even 10 minutes
Into the walk
You’ll look at me
With respect, even shock.

You will realize
What it is I go through
And the next time you judge
I can assure you

That you won’t say a thing
You’ll be quiet and learn,
Like the years that I did
When the tables were turned…….

Written by Cindy Waelterman

*****PERSONAL NOTE FROM ME Betty R.***********
I am sharing this written by SOMEONE ELSE because I very much agree with it.

I don’t look at people not going through this with hatred but I do wish you’d see that sometimes your “issues” are so simple to to me, walk a day in my shoes and I think you’ll agree.

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9 thoughts on “Autism Night Before Christmas ~~ By Cindy Waeltermann

  1. Wonderful, so nice to read of such a familiar experience.

    As for the ‘they just need discipline’ issue – oh ,yes indeed, don’t you get sick of that! It’s amusing to consider that when autism was first identified, it’s cause was supposedly the ‘cold parent’ (the refirgerator mother), whereas today it is the hippy permissive parent who is accused of ‘causing’ it. ( sigh).

    Lisette

  2. Hello Betty – I don’t know how you stumbled onto my blog, but I’m glad you did…thank you for letting me know you were there.

    My little one has Asperger’s and sometimes looks “very” autistic…other times, he’s just a quirky little boy. People don’t get it, sometimes…as you know very well. They think it’s parenting issues, or whatever…and say it’s a made-up label, like ADHD when it was becoming more known.

    I know your life must be rough…and rewarding, too. Good for you. πŸ™‚

    Again, thank you for visiting…I’ll be visiting, too.

    • Hi,
      Thank you very much for visiting. I know what you mean. If you just saw my son while he was just being… you would never guess he has anything going on. Then he will either break out and start humming or doing something “interesting” and people really just don’t know. Life is rough, very rough but it is in fact very rewarding. πŸ™‚ I work hard so when I see even the tiniest progress, I rejoice.

  3. Betty, this is a fantastic share. There is so much said in this lovely poem that is so true.
    ~the small achievements~ ~the tiniest stride~ and the joy it brings.

    It brings back memories from the classroom. How we’d (gently) hug and say “good for you”! (as we did with all the kids in the class).
    And the other children at the table would say the same, because no matter what level you are working at, you know when someone has achieved something important for them. Of course, this is the way five-year-olds are. πŸ˜‰ And, I encouraged my classes to be “a family”.

    But those who think “smacking” will solve all….need so much education themselves. It gives me chills to read that.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem.

    • Judy, you would be surprised at how many people think “a good smacking” is in order. I still hear it all the time from strangers. Sometimes it makes me angry when I hear it but more and more these days… their ignorance just makes me feel so very sorry for them because that is in fact unnecessary savage behavior which makes me feel that they are the ones with “the condition” and that my children are simply different.

      I believe in discipline, Autism or not BUT in my idea of discipline there are no “smackings” involved. Tone, repetition and encouragement and patience.

  4. Hello, Betty, I saw this under the understanding tag and I had to read it. I started to write about autism a few weeks ago in a post I haven’t yet got back to but think about a lot, following a Newsround programme by and for children about their own autism. And I had a work colleague who described himself as autistic, so for a little while in a long term temp job I was close up to at least one person. I also spent a week with someone else who I later heard described as having Asberge’s syndrom by someone else, although he didn’t describe himself to me that way and I didn’t think of him that way.

    You sound to me like a great mother for your son. I particularly took note of and agreed with what you said about people saying he needs discipline or a smack. I am recognising more and more that if people say something like that about people it is an issue they have with themselves and are failing or refusing to face. I know it is true for me when I talk like that. I am 100% sure of that now, regardless of who taught me to think that way, and whether I can use that knowledge fruitfully and helpfully for someone who would be a victim of that kind of comment or not.

    I don’t know if you believe in God, but I would pray that He protects you and your son from negativity and judgment. Your child is different, in a way which brings out other people’s insecurities in the way you have said. I often agree with the view of an autistic child, from what I have seen and heard, and as you said it brings simplicity, which is an approach which so much of our society despises. I was going to say these days but I don’t know if it has been ever thus.

    I hated hearing children on the programme I mentioned talk about how they need to be the ones to adapt and understand that their behaviour is challenging and not everyone can cope with it. Maybe I have not been close enough personally to hold this opinion, but I even hate it that they are taught to think of themselves as any more different as anyone else, especially giving it a medical label. These children, to me, just don’t hide the truth they understand in their perception. They are incredibly perceptive and good-spirited people, I believe, not in spite of an illness, and not as the plus side of an illness. I would like the concept of autism to go completely out of use and just have them recognised as exceptional and not worried about but nurtured in and for their difference and strength and clarity of perception as every other child is who receives good parenting. I believe, rightly or wrongly, that it is all the ‘no’s and worry about their particular difference and pressure to conform that creates the emotional instability and deep embarrassment which are seen as the negative side of who they are. They are not circus freaks and like any person whose personality and difference is not celebrated or is seen as a problem and learn to think of themselves that way, they suffer, like artists, geniuses or any unfulfilled person who has learned to see their difference as something they have to control.

    That’s just me, and I suspect your own position is not much different, if at all.

    Lots of love, and thank you for your openness.

    Sue.

    • Sue thank you very much for taking the time to read and your fantastic feedback. I didn’t write this piece. I was merely sharing it because I found it very true. My son is my life and I work with him every day. I am not trying to “fix” him, I am trying to help him be the best he can be, the only way I know how. πŸ™‚

  5. Betty R I look forward to your blogs. They provide a glimpse into what it means to be human, to love unconditionally. It really is beautiful. I like to read my books to a young man who lives nearby. He is physically and mentally challenged. Sometimes my wife goes along and we sit and read to the young man and his mother. I see in his Mom what you capture in words – a mother’s love. The boy is twenty four, but his mother’s love is undiminished. It is a wonderful just being near and sharing for a time what it means to be human.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, for reading and for taking the time to read to that young man. It does mean something. It is also great to meet people like you that actually care.

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