When Justin turned 8 we bought him an iPad. We had found out through his therapists that there were some great programs available to help non-verbal kids communicate. These programs are amazing!! We have seen a huge jump in Justin’s progress, and we’ve also been able to measure his progress better because he can answer questions now just by touching answers on the screen. I love living in the 21st century!!
Justin’s sister is only 22 months younger than he is, and she has been a blessing to our family, and specifically Justin since she was born. She is always helping him and looking out for him and just loving him the way he is. It is incredibly moving as a parent to watch them interact, especially since Justin doesn’t talk.
That being said, we had one of those kinds of moments recently. You know, one of those normal moments that we don’t have very often because Justin doesn’t pick fights with his sister ever so we have never had sibling rivalry issues with them. His sister came to me and said, “Justin is so lucky. It’s not fair that Justin has an iPad and I don’t!” There was a long pause in my brain so that I wouldn’t let loose all the things I wanted to say about “fairness” right then, and then I said, “I’m sorry, what did you say?” Still not believing we were having this conversation she says, “Yeah! He gets to play games on the iPad and I don’t think that’s fair! He’s just so lucky!”
I just stood there for a second trying to reconcile how the word lucky and Justin could even coincide in the same sentence!! All I could think was, “are you kidding me?? Because not being able to talk and having Autism for the rest of his life somehow makes life lucky for him???” But then I saw her sweet eyes, and she was only 6 years old, and always acting well beyond her years. So after I told her she could have a turn once in a while when he wasn’t using the iPad, I did share some of my thoughts—very watered down and with a “nice” mommy voice, and it was one of those priceless talks about life, trials, blessings, and why Heavenly Father loves us so much he put us together in families. I walked away chuckling though thinking about how someday I’d tell her about this conversation and we would laugh together.