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Learning from Special Needs kids

Frequently, we get caught in the trap of trying so hard to "fix" the problems with our kids that we ignore the lessons we could learn from them.  And this is particularly the case with special needs kids of all types.

As you probably know if you're been reading this blog for a while, my son, Duncan, is autistic and we're working with him to help him beat some of the challenges he has.  But at the same time, it's very interesting to watch him do things and react to things in a way that's filled with instinct and id.

For example, Duncan makes no bones about it when he's tired and wants to rest.  His body is telling him to do so and he's going to do it, by gum.  How many of us could take a lesson from this?  Instead of constantly driving hard and trying to achieve all the time, we need to listen to our bodies and take breaks when we need to.

The Grok Squat
Another example that I really love (and especially given my reading I've done on places like Mark's Daily Apple and the like) is that when Duncan does get physically tired, he immediately squats down into what might be termed the Grok Squat.  This was really noticed during our recent trip to Arizona where we did a lot of hiking with my parents.  During a hike of Ramsey Canyon there, Duncan would frequently just stop for a couple moments in the squat position, get his strength back, and then be ready to head off up the trail again.  My parents in particular were really impressed with  his flexibility there, and my mother said that's something she's going to work on.

But the key thing is that this was just him working on instinct.  He's doing something because it feels right to his body, not because of any peer pressure, what he saw on TV, etc.  He's working off bodily instinct more than most because of his autism.

Other examples of this include his shunning of sugary foods.  He's not a big juice drinker or candy eater.  Granted, like any kid he loves his mac'n'cheese, but the sugar factor really doesn't matter to him.  He'd rather have white milk than chocolate milk, for example, and wants his scrambled eggs for breakfast in the morning instead of cereal or other stuff like that.  Is this his body telling him that it doesn't need that stuff?  Are his increased senses in some regards telling him that those things aren't good for him?  Does he know his body's reacting better when he starts the day with fats and proteins like eggs?

There's truly a lot we can learn from special needs individuals in our communities, and especially in our families.

How have special needs individuals in your life taught you something?  


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