Date: Sunday, 28th January, 2018 - 10:13pm
Autism: Kings In The Spotlight
A couple of Saturdays ago, I was with the boys in one of the local malls. They were having a fashion show so we stood around for a little while and enjoyed the performance.
After it was over, a young man with a basketball was called to do a trick with the ball. It wasn’t anything complicated, just a simple ball trick.
As we were watching, the man in the microphone said in front of hundreds of people watching the show: “We would like to invite those two boys in black jerseys to come here”
My first impression was to say to myself: “Nah, they didn’t say two boys in black jerseys!”
But then I realised that all eyes turned to His Royal Highness #2 and His Royal Highness #3. Since we didn’t move after the initial shock, someone came to get us giving me no time at all to “train” the Kings in what was about to happen or what we will happen. Most of all, I didn’t know how they will react if they didn’t get the trick done in the correct manner.
Will they have a meltdown if for some reason they don’t get it right? Will they be afraid of standing in front of a lot of people and do this? Will the people be kind and supportive of two clumsy boys even if they don’t know they are on the Autism spectrum?
Like two celebrity kids used to the flash of paparazzi cameras, King #2 and King #3 loved every second in the spotlight. His Royal Highness #3 was smiling the whole time and even though he struggled to do the trick with precision, he compensated all with a lot of determination and eagerness.
The crowd was kind and cheered for him loudly and clapped. His Royal Highness #2 tried his best as well and even though he too lacked precision, the face he put when people started cheering for him was priceless. He had the face of “I am doing an incredible job and people are seeing that!”
. It gave him the courage to try a second and a third time. Both of them received complementary t-shirts for trying to do the trick and they were very happy.
They left with a feeling of accomplishment as any child should feel when they attempt something for the first time. I was humbled and grateful that the crowd was supportive and kind towards them…and they didn’t laugh or mocked them. I was very grateful…It isn’t always the case.
This little experience made me ponder a lot in our roles as members of society. Tiny, genuine acts of kindness towards others can impact their days in ways we might not even realise. They are many among us who might be seen as awkward or different, those who might be friendless or perhaps very lonely.
How much each one of us can impact their lives by simply taking a genuine interest in them, smile and cheering them a little bit. It doesn’t take much if there is love in our hearts…
And if we cannot do any of these things for whatever reason, at least don’t mock them, don’t ridicule them, and don’t make them feel less…In a world where you can be anything, choose to be kind.