When we first began to notice C lining or stacking things in neat rows and piles — toys, blocks, food — we were concerned; it’s one of “the signs” parents are told to watch for, one more thing to worry over. Accompanying the ordering of objects was the eventual meltdown if they fell apart or weren’t just so. Another sign.
While some ASD children are constantly arranging and stacking, for C it was a side activity, not a full-time vocation. Still, it was worrisome.
However, after we received the autism diagnosis, we began to think of these little arrangements differently. No longer were they so concerning — we already knew what they meant. Instead, we began to appreciate them as C’s little displays of public art, visual insights about what is going on in his mind.
And this is a metaphor, I think, for the journey the ASD parent may take with their child, from fear and denial to the eventual acceptance of what is, and possibly even an appreciation for these things that make a child unique.
There is beauty to be found, if you can accept it.