My six year old son, Ben, has Autism. While he is bright, his verbal skills are very limited. Generally, he talks only enough to express his basic needs. At this point, meaningful conversation with Ben is not possible.
While he says very little, Ben recently learned to use the computer to express himself. Several times since I have been diagnosed with cancer, he has surprised me by bringing me type written notes (done without prompting) with messages like: “Dear Mom, you are nice” and “Dear Mom, I love you.” Sometimes I will find his notes lying around the house, with messages such as, “Mom is sick”, or “Mom is hurt.”
On a rare occasion, Ben will catch me off guard by speaking a full, meaningful sentence. Never was I more surprised than one night while putting him to bed, when he said to me, “Good night. Guardian angels watch over you and protect you.” Some might say he was just echoing something he had heard me say a hundred times before. True. But the miraculous part is that it is the one and only time I heard him speak those words, and it happened to be on the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Ben may look like he is “in a world of his own”, but these gestures prove to me that he is a sensitive boy who is very much aware of what is happening in my world.
Tip: Not everyone is great with words. Just because someone cannot tell you how they feel when you are sick does not mean they don’t care.