This post is by Erin Mast, an ABA Master’s student and a full-time mother to three kids with special needs.
Asking for help and admitting your flaws are both seen as weaknesses. I don’t see it that way. I see it as being wise enough to know your limitations. I have limitations. You see, my beautiful, silly son Carter is going to be 11 on August 26th. He also lives with autism. And when I say lives, I mean it. He is vibrant and loves life. He makes those around him love life as well.
He also loves Toy Story, a movie released in 1995, 8 years before he was born. He has asked for the Little Tikes fire truck for his birthday. Sadly, Little Tikes has a new improved version on the shelves. For you and me, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. But, for someone with autism, a new improved fire truck just won’t cut it. I have had people judge my parenting, wondering why an 11-year-old needs and wants a toy aimed for a toddler. To me, that doesn’t matter.
He is a happy young man who is passionate about Toy Story. I just want to see him open that fire truck at the end of the month, with a smile on his face. I just want him to know that I heard him and understood him. I want to make his dreams come true, just like he has made my dream come true. As Christopher Reeve said…
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
That is Carter to a T. He didn’t talk until he was three. He still uses a voice output device. None of that has held him back. Toy Story is an important part of who he is. He sleeps with both Woody and Buzz. We have even had a few Woody dolls, one of which he cut the arm off and shelved, just like the movie. It is a great way for him to connect to people because, after all, who doesn’t love Toy Story?
Finding these old toys can sometimes be tricky, and when we do find them, affording them can be difficult. You see, Carter has two brothers who also live with disabilities. Luckily for me, I know that no matter what Carter gets for his birthday on the 26th, he will be happy.
He will be the happiest little boy ever because he never wants to disappoint…just like I don’t want to disappoint him. So, if you happen to have one of these in your home that is looking for someone to love it, think of my little boy. It would make him extremely happy. And, as for this mother, there would be no words for the gratitude and thanks I would have for you helping Carter to have a happy birthday!
If you know of someone who can help Erin, please reach out to her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org! A picture of what the Little Tikes fire truck looks like is below. She is looking for a model that came out during the time of the movie in the mid 1990's.