They say “Laughter is the best medicine” and in some cases I think this is true. I know I have had a bad headache and really laughed and it helped my headache. I tend to laugh a lot, One of the things I Love most about Mark is he makes me really laugh. My older three kids also laugh a lot, especially my daughter. She and I have been known to laugh at basically nothing and keep laughing, even though we aren’t sure why. Some of my favorite memories are when my kids were really laughing together and “being kids”. We all love to see our kids be happy and enjoying what life has to offer. This isn’t always so easy with autism. This isn’t to say they don’t smile or laugh, as some laugh uncontrollably and this as well can alarm parents.
Peyton does smile and he also laughs, however he doesn’t laugh at the frequency or level,most kids his age do. He is somewhat shy, as is my third child, but even when he is truly happy he doesn’t “express it” like my older kids do. This really hit me a couple of Sunday’s ago. Peyton’s brother Preston made him an awesome computer. I knew he really loved it because he talked about it a lot to me. He thanked Preston several times and uses it all the time. Preston asked me if Peyton really liked it, I told how much he uses it. Preston was very happy to hear that. He said to me he thought he did, but Peyton didn’t say a lot to him. My older kids understand and accept that Peyton doesn’t always express himself. I can’t tell you how much that means to me that they understand and accept Peyton as he is! I know they love him unconditionally and will do anything for him. I also know that Peyton isn’t going to be understood or accepted by everyone. This isn’t to say we are all liked by everyone, because we aren’t. My point is though that Peyton has had situations where people are mean to him because he “acts different” this hurts my heart, and it also angers me. Part of why I became an autism activist was to help others understand Peyton and other autistic kids and adults.
I am a firm believer that love, understanding and acceptance of Peyton is by far the best “medicine” for him. When he feels comfortable around people he talks more, is relaxed and yes, even laughs! My hope is that those who aren’t around autistic kids and adults, will educate themselves on how to interact with them. I always appreciate it when people reach out to me and ask questions, it shows they care and want to understand. Many autistic adults have enough stress in their daily lives, so every little thing that can lower that stress is awesome! My hope is that others take the time to understand Autism. I also hope those close to autistic kids and adults, shower them with unconditional love. I know with Peyton when these things happen, I see him enjoying life more! Nothing warms my heart more than hearing Peyton laugh!