I have other kids. Besides my child with autism. That is a big, meaningful statement all by itself. You have to carve out time without getting tired (I say that in jest), and teach them patience while modeling it yourself. Life is full of opportune times to get your cape out and show your community how pro active you are, and there are more often times, moments when you freeze. When you get nervous, angry, or frustrated.
I hate feeling annoyed when my other kids have activities. I want to be "that mom", the one who is den leader at scouts, the one who bakes homemade everything, the mom who sews her own halloween costumes. But I'm not. I am barely awake for storytime.
My six year old had a pancake breakfast for cub scouts last weekend. I bundled up him, his little brother, and Chandler. We drove early to the church, and the first thing Chandler did when he saw the table set up with the GIRL scout cookies was squeal in delight. And the first thing I heard was a "shush". Oh okay. He's too loud when there is a church service going on in the other room. I get it. And it hurts. He cannot help it. I say nothing. Today it isn't worth the fight. I don't know these parents. So I help Elliott flip sausages, and I watch all the parents in the kitchen watching me. We sit at the table farthest away. There is another couple near me with a boy Sawyers age. They trade iphones and play Candy crush and angry birds. They are smiling at Chandler eating thin mints. I begin to think about this being an opportunity. I relax as I see there are one or two people interested, asking questions, and I can tell Chandler has once again won hearts just by being sweet and signing "cookies".
The boys start to race derby cars for practice, and Chandler gets very excited. He jumps and flaps as the cars race down the track. The boys in Elliotts scout den are looking at him, and I realize. This is good. FOR them! This is the way I am working on social inclusion. By showing them I am having fun with Chandler, and I notice his brothers are not bothered by his "loudness", in fact, Sawyer is talking to him about cookies, and his new friend is noticing. I don't have to do anything but be present. And allow Chandler to be Chandler. Sometimes being the best teacher is allowing things to happen.