I was shopping the other day, something that both my children do not particularly enjoy, when the kids spotted these giant Euro Bubbles “walking on water” things.
The kids started jumping up and down, begging, batting eyelashes and everything else they could think of to get my husband and I to allow them to do it. I have to admit they did look like fun. But the SPD mommy in me, the autism mommy in me and every other red flag bearing mommy in me was screaming, “NO don’t let them do it.”
Against my better judgment, hubby got in line to pay for them to give it a go. My 10 year old son Jay who has Aspergers and Sensory Integration Disorder, Disgraphia and who knows what other label they can possibly throw on him, got into line with him.
To my surprise, Jay waited in line without complaining. As he got closer to the front he began to flap more and more in excitement, but he did not complain once about his feet hurting and needing to sit down the way he usually does when he waits in lines. He did not complain when they asked him to remove his shoes and socks.
He did not complain when he had to walk on the wet, cold and rather dirty floor. And he did not complain when they stuck the quite large vacuum type thing into his bubble to blow it up. All he did was sit back and hold his ears… but then all the kids were doing that, including my NT 7 year old daughter.
I am not sure who enjoyed the bubbles more… the kids or me. It was so much fun to watch my children. Especially Jay. I was afraid he would get nervous about being stuck inside this bubble as he does not like closed in spaces. But he didn’t. I was afraid the feeling of the plastic on his feet would drive him crazy. But it didn’t. I was afraid that he would get frustrated if he could not stand up. But he did stand up!
When the 5 minutes were up, that is all $10 buys you on these things, my boy emerged from his bubble sweaty and exhausted. He was also grinning from ear to ear. “Did you see me mom. Did you?” I don’t know how many times he said that to me. Every time he did I got giddy. His excitement about his accomplishment was contagious. To think I almost said no when they asked to go.
I remember reading a quote a while back from a gentleman named Travis Breeding who has Asperger’s. He said, “It’s like there’s a bubble and a “normal” person can pop it and get to the social world where someone with Asperger’s or autism will spend their whole life trying to get in the bubble and keep bouncing off over and over again.” I always liked this analogy to describe autism. But now after watching my boy in his real life bubble I realize that perhaps it is my fear, my desire to protect my baby from potential harm that puts him in the bubble… not his autism.