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The Moment I Saw Through the Eyes of My Son With Autism

We recently went to visit a family friend (Uncle M.) at his apartment. This particular friend became blind as a baby and wears sunglasses and uses a walking cane. In the 20+ years I have known him, I don’t remember him ever once complaining about it or feeling sorry for himself. In fact, he is one of the most independent men I have ever met! He is the sweetest man ever and the hubby and I think of him as a brother and the kids think of him as an uncle. Uncle M. has owned his own place for over 20 years, has a full-time job in Washington, D.C. (he takes the subway), has tons of friends, a girlfriend and can play the drums (he played at our wedding).

Anyways, Dominic made himself at home and started running around in the apartment. We were telling him to stop, but it wasn’t until Uncle M. told him, Be careful, buddy!” that he actually did. Since we were visiting around dinner time, we were debating whether to go out or order carry-out. We opted to go out for dinner at a favorite pizza place nearby. Dominic and Uncle M. sat next to each other at the table, and I was sitting across from them. I was a little concerned, because I usually sit right next to Dominic to make him feel comfortable and to kind of keep him “in line.” We really didn’t need to be concerned or worried. Throughout the meal, Dominic snuggled up next to Uncle M. multiple times. They both were definitely enjoying the yummy pizza. When we went back to drop off Uncle M. at his apartment, since it was late, we decided to say our goodbyes in the parking lot. When Dominic gathered us all in for a “group hug” and started singing, “I love you, you love me” from “Barney,” I felt like I needed a tissue.

Uncle M. doesn’t “see” Dominic as a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Dominic doesn’t “see” Uncle M. as a man who is blind. I think often about what it must be like to see the world through Dominic’s “eyes.” I know one thing — Dominic can immediately pick up on how comfortable someone is around him. I’m guessing Uncle M. can too. I wonder how many people have judged him, solely based on the fact that he is blind. I thought it was super duper awesome when we went to the restaurant to eat pizza and not one person stared at him (or Dominic).  Sadly, though, many in our society “see” the special needs first and then the person.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if it was the other way around?

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This post originally appeared on bountifulplate.

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