Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Autism Answer: Not A Traditional Family

Me and my son at UTA in Arlington

"My family is not a traditional family because it is extremely open, diverse, and strange. Everyone that I know in my family doesn’t judge others, rather we accept their differences and try to help them. My grandmother, on my mom’s side, helps those with autism, myself being included in those she’s treated. I had a mild case of autism at a young age, which affected my social skills, but my grandmother provided Neurofeedback and helped my brain function normally. My brain hadn’t fully recovered until I was in 5th grade. This made me strong enough to overcome social, personal, and educational challenges. I have become a more accepting person and freely able to express myself because my family is so diverse." ~Declyn Shelton, my youngest son.

That's a snippet from my son's essay to a University in response to the prompt: "What was the environment in which you were raised? Describe your family, home, neighborhood, or community, and explain how it has shaped you as a person." 

Today he and I visited one of the Universities he's thinking of attending. We had a blast! The campus tour was informative, the guide was delightfully fun, and it was a beautiful day. 

As we drove home afterward, he teared up a little; surprising himself with a flood of emotion. He pulled the car off of the Interstate about halfway between Dallas and our small town (two hours south) so I could drive the rest of the way home. He started texting friends he hadn't seen in a while and making plans to hang out this week, which is their spring break. He looked at me and laughed while wiping away tears, "I can't believe how emotional I am! All the memories I've made are already made. Now I'm about to start making new ones. It feels weird and exciting and sad. Wow! Who'd have thought, right mom? University. Wow!" 

I just nodded. I felt my feelings waiting their turn. For now, I really want to experience life on the edges of his. 

After making plans to hang out with one of his best friends from much younger years, and talking a bit about how their friendship had taken an uncomfortable turn for a while, my son said to me, "You know, mom, I was always a different kind of kid. Wise, in a way. I blame you for that. You were always so non-judgemental of everyone but you also let us see the world for what it was, so I wasn't naive. Just free and wise." He got quiet then. We enjoyed the rest of the drive in emotional but lovely silence. 

I don't know if Declyn will go to The University of Texas at Arlington (though it's possible he will) but I do know that before the year is over he'll be doing something I have no frame of reference for. I've never been to University. 

Well, except for today. 

And with my youngest son at my side, it was easy to like it.
(Also, it helps that I don't have any assignments due. tee hee!)

I hope you and your family are finding ways to celebrate and harness the diversity and challenges in your world with a portion of the passion and pride my son is able to! 

As parents, we can worry that perhaps having "difference" in the home puts unfair pressure on our children, and in some ways it does. But pressure is not bad inherently. It can be molded and shaped and over time, reveal a strong, beautiful diamond. 

My son is constantly reminding me of that. 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)
P.S. I don't know if I should tell him the truth about who I was in his childhood. Sure, I was non-judgemental-ish but that was partly because I still had a bit of low self-esteem and I assumed everyone else was more successful than me in some way. If he knew that would he still blame me for his wise? Nah. Why risk it? Giggle!
For Info on the Neurofeedback my son talked about in his essay, visit my mom's autism and neurofeedback website: / or her personal website:
# # #