Although studies have shown that parents of autistic children often have more stress, trouble sleeping, and spend more money on their children than other parents, most of us live for the little moments we spend with our children that make it all worth it.
Lately my life has been full of stress both at work and with my family. Fortunately, I was able to take some time off to spend with my son, Quay to do one of our favorite activities: fishing. I have always loved to go fishing. It’s always been a dream of mine to become a fly fishing tour guide. For now, I enjoy the moments I get to spend with my little buddy, teaching him about fishing.
Quay is 11 years old and is severely autistic. He can communicate some verbally, usually in one or two word sentences, but he communicates more with his facial expressions and body language. When I take him out to the lake with me, I can tell that he’s happy and relaxed, even if he can’t say it. I love to go fishing because the open outdoors are so relaxing, quiet and peaceful. There’s no rush or sense of urgency. I feel that it’s a good experience for Quay as well, since he’s not being overwhelmed by lots of people, cars, sounds, and movement. Since this environment isn’t so distracting, he’s able to connect with me more and focus on what I’m teaching him. It’s a great opportunity for us to strengthen our relationship, which is very important to me since he can’t consciously understand the father-son bond quite like other children do.
I take him out on little trips like these whenever I get the chance. He helps me reel in the fish, even though he’s sometimes hesitant to touch them when they’re out of the water. When I see him focused on fishing and happy to be interacting with me and learning new things, it makes appreciate and enjoy our relationship even more. These little moments watching him light up make up for all of his bad days. When you find an activity that both you and your autistic child enjoy and are able to do together, it’s a feeling that’s indescribable. He’s the best fishing buddy a guy could ask for.
What activities can help you and your child bond? What helps your child connect with you? How do you avoid distractions or keep him or her from becoming overwhelmed? Fishing may not be the right activity for you and your child, but we’d like to know what is. Visit our Facebook page and tell us what activities your child enjoys. Your story may help another family find that connection with their child.
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