“Do you think she will still be doing that when she’s older?”
Hmm. I guess deep down in my heart, I do. But I don’t want to upset the SGM or discourage his hope, so I craft a careful response.
“Well, I think she will always be expressive with her hands. I don’t think it will appear so much like flapping. You know – a less obvious version of her own brand of Flaptastic.”
It’s true. She’s not an all-out flapper. Her handflapping is more like puppeting – one hand close to her face and it appears she is having a conversation with a sock puppet. No sock. No intelligible conversation. But there’s some kind of exchange going on between her and the wiggling fingers in front of her. It’s often either a sweet sing-song voice or full-on gravelly falsetto. And because she is well-versed in sign language, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish her flapping from signing. It’s adorable, too.
But the reality of being Flaptastic is a cold, harsh one. Outside of our four walls, or the secure compound she attends school at – the world is not all that accepting of unusual hand gesturing and the squawks and squeaks that accompany them. Especially within the confines of long grocery lines or intimate seating at a restaurant where the tab comes to anything more than twenty bucks for a family of four. Folks tend to frown upon dining with Flaptastic.
Which is such a shame. I know people get uncomfortable around things they don’t understand. But wow – you are really missing out if you do. Because my daughter might be a Flaptastic Prom Queen someday. Or a Flaptastic scientist that cures your terminal disease. Who knows? Maybe she’ll be flapping away at the dinner table with her father and me many, many years from now. Maybe she will be flapping at your dinner table because she owns the restaurant you are dining in and would like to know if your meal is satisfying.
You don’t know.
Neither do I.
So as it is impossible for me to answer the SGM with any accuracy about the Flaptastic side of autism, how about we agree to just accept it and move on to bigger fish?
Like passing the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act. Have you shown your support yet? Click HERE. Thanks!