Put yourself in their shoes

unknonw persons standing on dried leaves

The other day I was asking my son a question. He was not answering my question and I had asked him three times. Then I looked over at him because I was getting frustrated. He looked so very tired. I tried to imagine what it felt like to have someone ask you the same question and then get upset when you weren’t answering it.

Instead of my son telling me that he was so tired and he couldn’t think at the moment, he just blankly stared at me expecting me to know what was going on in his head. This happens more often then I want to admit. The same scenario over and over again.

So why do I keep doing it? Do I think I’m going to get a different result?

I have to dig really deep down for this one and think. When I am tired and someone asks me a question, do I answer them? Usually, but my response can be quite abrupt and perhaps even come across as disengaged.

When I am sad or frustrated, do I always want to share my feelings with others or do I want to just sit quietly and be alone?

When I have had a long day, is a long conversation the answer or just starring blankly at a TV screen?

You see, just because I want to engage at a certain time, doesn’t mean my son necessary does. He may not be in the “zone” at that moment.

Lately, I have really been trying to “put myself in his shoes.” His communication may not have the same conversational piece, but the conversation is there, if I pay attention. You see conversing can be done at many different levels – actions, non verbally, gestures, expressions, movement etc. These are all important factors, especially when you have autism.

My expectations can at times be way too much and this can in fact be a roadblock, rather than an asset.

You see, I know my son probably better than anyone on this earth. I know what he is thinking when I look at him even without him saying a word. His eyes tell a story all the time. When he is happy, they are glowing. When he is sad or tired or just had enough, you can tell.

Trying to connect and converse when he is not open or able to is pointless.

But I NEED to put myself in his shoes. I need to pay attention to cues because the last thing I ever want to do is make him feel like how he feels just doesn’t matter.

So today, I turn over a new leaf. I will make every effort to be more in tune and encourage positive exchange of conversation when he is in a place to do so.

Onward and upward, we go!

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