My vision is 20/200. Legally blind. Sometimes, it takes a little help from a 5-year-old — both literally and figuratively — to gain clarity and perspective.
Clarity and perspective
Oftentimes, I worry that spending an inordinate amount of time with my 6-year-old son on the autism spectrum will negatively impact my 5-year-old neurotypical daughter.
My daughter — a happy, smart, empathic and confident little girl — was only too happy to have me ask her questions about her role in the family, and how it feels to have a special brother.
Mom: What is autism?
What does autism mean to you?
Why do you think Ethan sometimes behaves the way he does?
What do you think about your brother?
What do you think goes on in his brain?
Does it upset you when Ethan misbehaves?
Do you feel special having a special brother?
Do you know how special you are?
Would you want Ethan to be more like you?
“We’re smart in different ways„
How are you and Ethan the same?
Do you think Ethan gets more attention because he has autism?
Do you have fun with your brother?
What would you say to your friends who want to know why Ethan sometimes acts differently?
How would you react if someone made fun of your brother?
What do you think about Ethan’s piano playing?
You have a lot of special talents, too! What are they?
In what ways do you and your brother help each other?
Is there anything you can do that Ethan can’t?
“He can do anything with computers„
Is there anything Ethan can do that you can’t?
Do you think you and your brother will be close when you’re older?
What will you and Ethan will do when you’re grownups?
My last question, which is a trick question... Why are you so beautiful?
In a cruel twist of fate, my daughter will most likely inherit my poor eyesight. Yet, there is no doubt she will retain her 20/20 vision — both literally and figuratively — for the rest of her life. Based on her answers to my questions, that much is crystal clear.
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