By Kodey Toney
My wife, Jennifer, called me the other day and said, "Kruz just asked me out of the blue, 'Why does Konner have autism and I don't?'"
We've always tried to explain to him that Konner has autism, but I'm not sure if he truly understands.
So, when I got home I laid down with him and Jen and tried to tell him the best I could.
Kruz is five, and is in a bit of a selfish stage. He's in that stage where if someone else has something he wants it. You know, like a toy he hasn't played with in months, but suddenly he sees someone else with it and he has to have it because he, "was playing with it!" I think he was a little jealous that Konner had something that he didn't have.
I tried to keep it as simple as possible. However I really wanted him to realize that, while it's not a great thing, it's not necessarily the worst thing.
So I began by explaining that God thought he needed to be unique. I know this May sound cheesy or cliche, but I really think that Konner's autism is a blessing in disguise. If nothing else it has given me a different outlook on life and disabilities. That in itself is a blessing.
I then started to tell him the bad things that make him different. I said, "Do you know how Konner gets frustrated, screams, hits, pinches, and bangs the (computer) mouse? He does this because he is upset over things going on around him. He smells thing stronger than we do. He sees hears things we block out. Things feel different to him. His clothes itch and poke and scratch him all the time."
At this point I could see him trying to process the information. I tried to explain that these things cause him to be upset many times.
I told him how the autism also affected his thought process. He has to think when talked to, or asked a question. This is why it takes him longer to do things in the morning.
I wanted to make sure that there were some very good points too though. So I explained that Konner was better at certain things than most. I told him that he was really good with numbers and math, and that he can read better than most.
I'm still not sure he fully understands, but I do know that he has at least started to think about some, and that's a good step.
I think it's important that siblings understand what is going on with their brothers and sisters. We just need to make sure that they are getting the good an the bad. It can help us in the long run when they try to help out or when someone is making fun of someone else with a disability they can try to step in and educate.