I’m Listening

Have to understand my mind talks heavy thoughts, but my mouth talks silliness.

From Emma’s Hope Book

This simple phrase, by 12 year old Emma, has touched my heart. I have read it over and over and over, because it speaks so loudly to me. My own son still doesn’t speak much. Not to say he doesn’t speak. Because he does! It’s just hard for him and he really would rather not have too. Strangely though, he can repeat sounds like a tape recorder. So, I hear much silliness from Simon too, these days. Like “silly rabbit, Trix are for kids” about a hundred times since Tuesday. But, there are heavy thoughts in there too. I know it. I see it! Sometimes his words have nothing to do with intent. Sometimes they’re just for fun. And that’s ok…

I’ve really enjoyed reading the words of kids and adults with autism so much lately. Especially the ones like my son right now, who aren’t verbal (or at least not fluently verbal). Carly Fleischmann is one girl who I follow, and marvel at her insights and her normalness. Like just a regular college freshman. From her Facebook, you’d never guess that she was severely autistic. She, and many, are breaking the stereotypes. Breaking rules, if you will, and living real, full, normal lives, in spite of their autism.

Emma is my newest favorite. She only 12 and quite a lovely soul. It still takes her a long time to write. It’s hard. But she does it, for us talkers. But she says she doesn’t think in words. Fascinating right? Honestly, she says something almost every week that makes me stop in my tracks. It’s like being given the key to a locked treasure. My son is my treasure. She helps me know him better.

Anyway, autism has been an incredible change for my way of thinking…about everything. There are so many things I’m still learning too. It’s complex and fascinating. And I don’t believe everything that the old scholars taught. I believe there is more to the story and I am learning so much of this from these nonverbal writers. Their words sear right into my heart. From young ages, their profound awareness and compassion for people all over the world is extraordinary. Also, they can be so funny! Totally socially up-to-date with sarcasm and all. Their bodies can completely hide this person inside, especially if you’re afraid to look. And that really sums it up. People are afraid – but remember – never judge a book by it’s cover.

So, with all I’m learning about autism, especially the nonverbal community, I feel I MUST share what I know. These kids are not zoned out. They are highly intuned and sensitive beings. Much more than ever thought before. People living with autism themselves are telling us their stories. Their voices are finally being heard. They have worked so incredibly hard for this. So, I’m listening, and I’m going to make anyone who knows me listen too. Because…well I just can’t help it.

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Suzy Higley

Suzy Higley

Wife to my childhood sweetheart. Stay-at-home mom of 3 awesome boys, ages 14, 12, and 5. My youngest is non-verbal and has Autism. Currently starting a community with other Autism Moms called Better Together. More social learning opportunities for our kids on the spectrum are needed...and because I couldn't find them, I'm creating them. I also draw and paint on both paper and walls...and furniture. And speaking of furniture, I have a chronic furniture rearranging condition that I'm seeking help for. Not really...it's my favorite.

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  • Becca Lingley

    Thank you 🙂

  • Kriste Colley

    I continue to learn so much about autism through you, Suzy. Thank you!!!

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    That is so great to hear! 🙂

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    Thanks for reading :)!!!

  • Lou Galindo

    “My son is my treasure. She helps me know him better.” Those 2 simple sentences made me teary-eyed. You are such a great mom. =)

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    🙂 aw… Those stinkin allergies again? 😉 thanks Lou.