This week, Lee took MJ and SJ on a short visit to a friend of a family member. The woman they visited knew that both boys were on the spectrum. During the visit, the SJ asked the woman for a drink of water. While in the kitchen, she asked SJ if she could “Say a prayer over him to help him get well.” SJ promptly replied, “No, thank you” and returned his attention to his drink.
When Lee told me what happened, I laughed at both the well intended, but misguided, efforts of the hostess as well as SJ’s perfect response. SJ demonstrated exactly the kind of self advocacy that I want all of my kids to have. He was direct. He was polite. I don’t know exactly what he was thinking when he heard the request. It’s safe to say that SJ did not stop to ponder the question of whether or not his autism makes him not well. I’m sure his response was not based on the concept of neurodiversity. I expect that his motivation was much more simple. Nonetheless, he was direct, and he was polite. I can think of a better way to start advocating for what he wants.