Friday, February 4, 2011

Out of the Zone

Each day, I push David past his comfort zone. I would guess that almost everything he is asked to do in therapy, plus many of the tasks at school and at home make him uncomfortable. That is the point—to make him more tolerant of new situations and to be more adaptable. He works very hard to articulate his wants and needs, to greet and interact with people and to learn behaviors that we consider "appropriate" but that can be unnerving to him.

The part that has surprised me, however, is that having David also pushes me. As a child I was painfully shy, a fear which I have been able to overcome, but since David has come into my life, I have learned to be an advocate. I have to be assertive, to ask questions and to push for answers—traits which can be uncomfortable for me.

WOWT-TVImage via Wikipedia
So, on Wednesday I was asked if I would be willing to do an on-camera interview with the local NBC affiliate, WOWT Channel 6 about our experiences with David. Now, I may no longer be shy, but I am still not a fan of public speaking, which is my polite way of saying that I really loathe it because it makes me exceptionally nervous. I have been told that I am good at it, but I am only able to keep my nerves in check by rehearsing remarks numerous times. But how can you practice for questions that you have not yet heard?

Well, I agreed to do the interview because I really do believe in helping people to understand about autism and its challenges, even if helping them "understand" may sometimes mean racing into the Applebee's Restaurant red-faced and out of breath to explain--in perhaps too high pitched a tone of voice why, if you offer curbside take-out service, it is really important to actually come out to the car because when you have a child with autism who is not expecting to go into the restaurant and who then, in fact, does have to go into the restaurant that you should expect the Crocs to fly off of his feet in protest and some running up and down the wheelchair ramp. I am all about politely helping to teach people tolerance and understanding.

I also figured that the news crew would come to do the interview and get a few sound bites from me, but after they saw my smart and exceedingly charming son, most of my footage would end up on the cutting room floor. The teachers were even calling David "Hollywood" at school all day yesterday leading up to the interview. Well, they probably should have referred to David as "Diva" instead, because he did not choose to cooperate and alternated telling the reporter and camera man "Stop…Nope…Go Home…Goodbye!" He even signed each of the words for added emphasis.

The segment is not scheduled until next week, but I have had people calling all day. The promo has aired several times, although I have yet to see it. I guess I can give up the rationalization that no one will realize it is me.

So, once again, David has me out of the zone. Just call it therapy.
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  1. Kathy, you are such an amazing advocate and I so look forward to seeing the interview. We do know that they use their judgment in editing and some of the things you might choose will end up on the cutting room floor, while your least favorite moments will be out there, preserved for time. But the real point is, yes, you are there ever the advocate, pushing for David and all the other families. You may be uncomfortable in your role, but you are a worthy therapist! I await the interview with great interest!

  2. I have said that autism has brought me out of my shy personality as well- we really have no other choice.

    How exciting that you gave the interview though!! Make sure to share a link if they put it online!

  3. How did it go? Can't wait to see it, Hollywood!