My family spent time a few years back at a friend’s non-profit farm in Los Altos, Animal Assisted Happiness. Another family brought their autistic son to spend time with the animals and our son acted as a helper during the visit. The experience was impactful from several perspectives:
- My friend Vicki started a non-profit, opened her home, volunteered her family’s time and her animals to help others
- The animals did not care about the differences between the people petting and feeding them … young or old, experienced or inexperienced in handling animals, autistic or non-autistic
- The mom of the boy was comfortable letting our son interact with her family on a first visit
My son wanted to know more about the boy after the visit … could my son get autism? Why does it happen? What can be done to help/can it be “cured”? How does he communicate? What does he feel? It showed the depth of understanding that can be brought out by simply interacting with others, being kind and giving your time.
And I was also struck again by the importance of our brain’s ability to process information and how challenging life can be when the signals going in and coming out are not responding in an expected way.