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What You Don't See in This Photo of My Son With Asperger's

The picture below was taken this past summer. My family and I decided to take a day trip to Virginia Beach to have a family day before school started. The young man in the picture is my oldest son, Aaron. The young lady in the picture is his girlfriend, Brittany. The younger gentleman standing in the background is my youngest son, Bryant.

family on beach looking at ocean

To the naked eye, it may look like some kids enjoying a sunny day at the beach. Here are a few things the picture doesn’t show.

Aaron has Asperger’s syndrome, and he had experienced difficulty in social situations most of his life. On this day, Brittany sat next to him, and Bryant stood in the water, seemingly looking out at the ocean, but he was really listening to Aaron to make sure he was doing OK.

The photo doesn’t show the joy in my heart and tears in my eyes as I discovered this moment and felt compelled to capture it. When your child feels accepted after being ostracized, it is a prayer answered.

The photo doesn’t show the years of conversations Aaron and I have had about “social skills,” dating, conversations… you name it, we have talked about it.

The photo doesn’t show the patience and consideration this couple has for each other. He opens doors for her and asks her if she is OK. She answers no matter how many times he asks and touches his arm lovingly when they are together.

The photo doesn’t show the joy on both of their faces as they walked back to our spot on the beach. To see them truly enjoying each other’s company is another prayer answered.

As we walked back to our vehicle later that day, Aaron came up beside me and whispered, “Thank you, Mom. I had the best day ever! I love you!” This is a common phrase he says when he is happy.

It’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, though, a picture is worth a thousand words, prayers, smiles, hugs and precious experiences.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us one thing your loved ones might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. What would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.