The puzzle piece has been established as the symbol for autism awareness. Organizations talk about solving the puzzle of autism. I find this somewhat ironic since Bryan always loved to do puzzles when he was young. Most of us look at the picture of the puzzle on the box, start with the frame, and work inside. Bryan never looked at the box, he always looked at the pieces. He put pieces together by color, shape, not to make the picture. You’d think this behavior would’ve given me a clue, nope, I just thought he was good at puzzles.
There are many pieces to the puzzle of autism and some of the hugest pieces are the people who you “hire” to work with your child. I put this in quotes because although this is a business arrangement, the arrangement feels nothing like business. Working with tutors, therapists, etc is very personal. Often times these people come to your homes; they see your piled up laundry, the mail we haven’t opened, and our messy lives. They know our good times and bad, and take the journey with us, week by week. They give us their guidance, their professional thoughts, but more than that they give of themselves and reach our boy in a way we cannot. We are really fortunate to have great people to work with Bryan. Here is an example. Yesterday Bryan was having a tough time. He was upset and was getting physical with our babysitter and Jason. Apparently it escalated and everyone was pretty upset and spent. Our Hebrew tutor came over to have her Monday session with Bryan. She took him upstairs, tried to play Wii with him, he then went to his room, lied down and wanted to do some Playstation to calm down. He asked her for a tissue for his eyes. After a little while they did their best to get some Hebrew review done. She called me after she left the house. She told me how things went and gave me some info she felt I needed. Here is the great part. She was proud of him and told me how he talked himself down, about his good language, and about how he was doing better. Can you imagine someone doing this? Taking the time and energy to work with your child to get him to calm down where he could learn, then recognizing that through all of this angst, positive behavior prevailed. I didn’t react too much since I was at work, but truthfully I was floored. The intimacy, the love, the dedication, it’s hard to process at times. The relationships we have with Bryan’s peeps(shorthand for everyone who works with him) are like pieces in a puzzle. Each one has their unique spot in our lives and each one has a place.