There Are 2 Sides to Every ‘Can’t’ for My Son With Autism


Some days, I see this:

He can’t make himself a snack. I have to prepare and supervise every meal.

He can’t stomach new foods. I have to cook the same limited menu.

He can’t use a knife. I have to cut up his food before he eats.

He can’t hang out with friends on his own. I have to hover and facilitate.

He can’t shave his face, brush his teeth or wash his hair independently. I have to take over those tasks.

He can’t match his clothes. I have to lay them out for him.

He can’t organize his time. I have to micro-manage every step to get him ready for his day.

But, this is also true:

He can’t make himself a snack — because I prepare and supervise every meal.

He can’t stomach new foods — because I cook the same limited menu.

He can’t use a knife — because I cut up his food before he eats.

He can’t hang out with friends on his own — because I hover and facilitate.

He can’t shave his face, brush his teeth or wash his hair independently — because I take over those tasks.

He can’t match his clothes — because I lay them out for him.

He can’t organize his time — because I micro-manage every step to get him ready for his day.

My son can’t do many things — because I still do too much.

He can’t do them — because I have not taken the time to teach him.

He can’t work through his mom-enabled challenges — until I make it a priority to get out of his way.

He can’t learn to do these things — without strategic teaching and creative modifications that take his sensory, fine motor and communicative needs into account.

He can’t complete these tasks independently — without time and patience and belief.

He can’t do these things today — but not because he can’t.

He just can’t — yet.

Robin LaVoie the mighty.1

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