Happiness - the simple things in life.

I've been reminiscing about Edward, my son who is on the autistic spectrum, when he was aged around five years old and trying to recall what things made him happy back then.

If I were to list the top ten it would look something like this:

  1. Watching Finding Nemo (everyday).
  2. Watching Walking with Dinosaurs (everyday, once he'd finished with Nemo).
  3. Watching Laurel and Hardy black and white films - He'd literally run around in excited little circles as each slap stick moment occurred. It used to send the rest of us into fits of giggles watching him, watching them!
  4. Thinking about and then eating strawberry Pavlova, which he called 'dream cake' as he did actually dream about it once.
  5. Religiously watching the water go down the plug hole at the end of every single bath.
  6. Playing with his wooden bricks.
  7. Laying out his dinosaur top trumps cards in various different combinations on his bedroom floor.
  8. Having books, charts and lists read to him.
  9. Thinking about big numbers - He'd actually jump up and down with excitement about this. I can still remember Nick telling him about a very large number which had the name - google plex. (Which is also the name of the headquarters of Google Inc. incidentally)
  10. "Daddy fighting" - a bit of a rough and tumble with Nick which he absolutely loved.

Dream cake (aka Pavlova) photo courtesy of Flickr creative commons.

I've been thinking about my other three neurotypical (not autistic) kids and what lists I would have made for them when they were the same age. There is of course some overlap between their top ten and Edwards's, but their lists would definitely have been weighted towards more sociable activities like playing with friends and baking with me. I've realised looking back that Edward was quite capable of having a thoroughly great time without that much intervention from us or indeed anyone.

There are a lot of things that make my son happy now but if I had to choose a perfect day for him it would probably involve water, preferably with waves and sand, followed by a delicious meal including a dessert in a restaurant and then back to any kind of accommodation so long as it had decent Wi-Fi (i.e. not a tent!)

The shining sun and warm breeze would definitely add to the happiness bar for me. As we don't live near the sea this kind of day happens very seldom.

On reflection the things which make Edward happy are not so different from the things that make a lot of us feel happy. Namely good food, some stimulating conversation and the ability/permission to slope off to read a book in peace when he's had enough.

Sounds good doesn't it!

Lynne is a Speech and Language Therapist and a mother to 4 children. Her eldest son is on the Autistic Spectrum. Lynne has a blog full of funny tales of family life dotted with little nuggets of wisdom. If you want to visit the blog, go to http://ablogaboutraisingmyautisticson.com/