Good News: The Present of Presence

One of the highlights of my life is our regular visits with our children Logan and Abby. Logan and Abby both have autism and they live in a group home about an hour away. This weekend was one of those visits.

Abby tends to interact with us more than Logan. When we were having lots of trouble with Abby, we would describe their autism in this way: “Abby was miserable in our world and Logan was content in his own world.” Now that they are older, I would say that Abby tends to be less miserable but Logan still can retreat into his own world.

However, we have seen Logan recently being more present with us. There is more eye contact and he seems more interested in interacting. Both Logan and Abby are considered nonverbal. This does not mean that they have no words, but rather they don’t use verbal language as their main form of communication.

Logan and Abby stayed for an overnight visit. Logan will share a bed with Justus. I pray with all of my children at bedtime and our regular prayer includes the names for a number of people in our family, both immediate and extended. Not only did Logan seem interested, he even prayed along with me, saying the names of those family members. I felt a tremendous blessing in hearing him pray.

Stephen BedardNormally, it is Abby that tends to notice changes in my appearance. For example, she will not let me wear 3D glasses when we go to a movie, because they just don’t belong on my face. But she hasn’t really cared that I have recently grown a beard. However, Logan has been quite interested. He has given me a funny look each time he has arrived at our house and seen the beard a bit longer. He has even touched my beard, such physical contact not being normal for him. While Logan doesn’t talk, he will respond to yes/no questions. I asked him if he liked my beard and he responded (with full eye contact) by saying yes. I then asked if he wanted to grow a beard like this (he is 15 and already has some pretty good sideburns) and he responded again with yes.

I mentioned to Amanda how great it was to have Logan so present with us emotionally and socially. She reminded me that I should not be surprised. For years, Logan has tended to withdraw during the summer and then in the autumn return with new skills and development. That is exactly what we are seeing right now.

So my good news is that we are enjoying our son being more present with us than we have had in a long time.

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