This guest post was written by a woman who lives in South Carolina with her husband and five kids, including 12-year-old Cadence, who has autism.
One weekend our family was invited to the home of some new friends. We bravely decided to accept the invitation. It was a big deal for us. Cadence, our
12-year-old daughter who lives with autism, had recently made some giant steps in tolerating social settings, but this was our first real outing in
a long, long time.
And these were NEW friends. We wanted them to stay around, not end this friendship before it got off the ground! So we held our breath, crossed our fingers,
and knocked on their front door.
It was a nice evening, and Cadence did great at dinner. Afterward she slipped into the bathroom. I was talking to the other mom when it occurred to me
that Cadence had been gone a long time. I went to check on her in the bathroom.
There was my 12-year-old girl, almost 5’10” tall and close to 200 pounds, stripped naked and about to get in their bathtub because she saw their 4-year-old’s
bath toys and wanted to play!
Having Cadence has taught me a couple things such as:
- Fight your battles. She is bigger than me. She wanted to play with the toys, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
- There’s no point in being embarrassed any more. Cadence in my new friends’ bathtub? Well….that’s just how we roll.
So I said to my new friend, “I’m not sure how to ask you this, but is it okay if Cadence takes a bath in your tub?” She was gracious and said yes (good
thing!). In fact, our new friends laughed like crazy and said this was one for the books. My response was, “I’m not sure what to say except that Cadence
feels at home here and your hospitality is very warm.”
My new friends didn’t kick us out but seemed genuinely pleased that Cadence felt at home. They even promised they would come over to our house sometime.
Cadence enjoyed all the water toys and played for a long time while the parents talked. It was nice. But what was nicer was meeting people who accept
us for who we are and made us feel welcome.
Autism is challenging. But being around good people who can love you through it makes the journey a whole lot easier.
At the Greenwood Genetic Center, we hope we are some of Connie’s “good people” and that we have loved her and Cadence through their journey. But Connie and Cadence are just two of the many people who inspire us to go into our genetics laboratories and work diligently every day. For Cadence, Connie, and thousands more people like them, we are busy discovering new therapies and effective treatments. We won’t stop until we find solutions for all our friends living with autism.