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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chantelle's Story Part 2

Hunter and Jackson

I have a son with autism and he is 2 years old.

He loves Sam, Murray, Anthony, Geoff and Captain Feathersword almost as much as he loves his brother, his daddy and me. I suspect he would also LOVE to ask Dora to be his girlfriend.

He is really good at puzzles, waiting for his turn, making Mummy laugh and giving soft little kisses.

He struggles with sensory issues like loud noises, crowds and playing with other kids.

Sometimes I, as a parent, find it hard when I feel torn in two. I also have an older son with Autism and both boys cope differently with social situations and change of routine. Hunter is so much more quiet in his approach to everything and much of our family’s time is focused on my older son who is more rambunctious and likely to meltdown.

I know in my heart of hearts that Hunter is struggling in many situations too but because he struggles silently he is often second on the list. He is second born, second to be helped into the car, second to have a turn and second to be cuddled when he’s having an anxious moment if his brother is noisily having one too. He is not second in my heart though. My heart is big enough for the boys to share equal space and love and it’s apt that that’s where my love for them lives as my heart often breaks in two for the enormous journey they face throughout life.

But then I think about the special moments, like when we recently went to a concert friends of mine in a country music band called The Rough Diamonds were doing to raise money for Autism Awareness.

Hunter had been in meltdown mode and very avoidant of all the noise and overwhelmed at the crowd but then our friends broke into a song that he instantly responded to. It was like he understood the words being sung and he calmed down straight away, smiled his big gappy toothed grin at me and climbed on my knee where danced holding my hands and giggled whilst I sung along (badly). The song is called “Free To Be."

As I listened to the lyrics, “I just wanna be free to be me & smile. Just leave my worries far behind & I’m gonna hold my head up high, feels good to be me. I’m gonna be free to be me & smile. Be true to who I am inside. Kick up my heels & enjoy the ride. Just want to be free, it’s time to be free, yeah free to be me. Feels good to be me.” I couldn‟t help but smile & feel emotional about the perfect fit this song is for my Hunter.

When I think about that moment looking up at his smiley face, into his enormous chocolate brown eyes whilst he danced on my knee to that song, I feel like he just might have enough innate wisdom and understanding of his own journey that he will be ok.

More about Chantelle and her family's journey with Autism can be found here:


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