His teacher (who I saw as an expert because she had been teaching for years, and I was a young mom) took me aside one day and said sweetly,"I love the way you let Jory express himself, but the other students aren't allowed to do that in their homes so it's probably better if your son came to school without all the unique face paint."
By the time Jory was older, and a few of his brothers were school aged as well, I was exhausted and nervous and confused and lacking any self-confidence as I busted my butt trying to make sure my kids behaved and appeared like everyone else. You know, normal.
Well, I have four brothers who were autistic, my youngest boys have many traits of autism and my mom is a global autism therapist Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD. Growing-up in our house was always crazy and forever fun! But during those few years while I was trying so hard to make us appear 'normal', we kinda lost the fun part.
Armed with this understanding I relaxed and allowed all of us to be a little bit nutty! I also included a fork-full of fitting in, a huge portion of individuality and delicious additions of sharing, learning and dream chasing!
There are many moms and dads struggling to encourage individuality while teaching social skills, language, etc.... I am by no means alone in this! However, having four brothers who were once on the spectrum (and I'm talking everywhere on that spectrum!) and a mom who travels the world teaching and helping families of autism with humor, honesty, respect and love, made me uniquely qualified to find the fun balance between encouraging the unique and different while teaching and believing in their ability to be comfortable in the world.