10 things I wish the world knew about our Charlie:
1. Just because Charlie doesn't look you in the eyes when you're talking to him doesn't mean he isn't listening. He hears and remembers every word you are saying, trust me.
2. Charlie is extremely funny, creative, loyal, loving, honest, and unique. You may never see this, though. He hides it very well when he is out in the "big bad world".
3. Charlie deals with so many obstacles on a daily basis: bright light hurts his eyes, loud noises hurt his ears, he can't stand to be cold or to have his head uncovered outside, he tires easily and doesn't have the endurance for sports-type games, he's extremely afraid of dogs and people in costumes, etc. Charlie is sensitive to so many things that most other people wouldn't even notice. He has worked so hard to overcome these obstacles. So hard.
4. Charlie is not simply "lazy", he has hypotonia (low muscle tone) - something he was born with. He tires easily and prefers more sedentary activities because of it. He has been in therapy for this.
5. Yes, Charlie may be clumsy, but this stems from issues with his gross motor skills. Therapy for this, too.
6. Charlie is not simply "picky", he has sensory issues that interfere with his eating. We are working on this, and have been for years. And, yep, more therapy.
7. Charlie is cherished and adored by his family and those who are close enough to get inside his little world. In turn, he is astoundingly loyal to his "people". Charlie's loyalty is one of his greatest and most poignant characteristics.
The way Charlie loves and protects his baby brother is like nothing I have ever seen.
8. Charlie does not understand a lot of the ways that people relate to each other and are "social" with each other. He is often oblivious to social cues and can appear very rude or uninterested. For this, I apologize. It is something we are constantly working on and one of my biggest fears for him is that he will never "get it". Be patient and persistent when you try to interact with him. Once you finally achieve that "connection", you are in and he will love you for life, I promise (see number 7!)
9. Charlie sees the world in such a unique way that every single day I am surprised, delighted, confused, frustrated, enlightened, sad, amused, and inspired by the words that come out of his mouth.
10. Charlie has Aspergers Syndrome.
I constantly find myself caught in this paradox between how completely amazing Charlie is and the need I feel to apologize for the way he is. I haven't known what to do with this. And mostly? I still don't.
All I really know is that Charlie needs to be loved in a unique way. A way that will fit into the grooves of who he is - grooves that follow very different paths and patterns from the world around him. If you take the time to step outside of "normal" and follow him down those paths and find him there and love him there, I promise you won't be disappointed. In fact, you might not want to leave.