Thursday, 23 March 2017
How my autistic son says he is already like a Power Ranger
Hot on the heels of the recent Sesame Street's reveal of their first autistic Muppet, is the re-boot of the Power Rangers Movie. And you've guessed it, one of the Power Rangers is autistic.
As a parent of kids with autism, one of whom is a nine year old Power Rangers obsessed boy, I literally squealed with excitement when I heard the news.
The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are back! A group of ordinary school kids find themselves instilled with alien powers that they must master as a team to save the world. And counted amongst those 'ordinary kids' is one with autism. And this didn't really strike home until I told Anthony about it.
"Anthony, you know the Power Rangers movie that's coming out soon?"
"Well, this is really exciting.... the Blue Ranger has autism, like you. He will be a bit like you."
"Oh mum, that will just make him even more like me."
How could I be so blind?
And then I listened to my amazing son as he told me ways that he was already like the Power Rangers.
He is brave
Anthony struggles with lots of things and I often think that he has to be 'braver' than other kids his own age. Yes all kids have things they need to overcome, but Anthony is faced with challenges on a constant basis. And some things like entering a swimming gala has a whole set of issues other kids just won't get. He is brave to get over his fears and worries and work through each and every single day.
He is strong
He absolutely is! Take a boy with autism and ADHD who literally spends all day jumping about and you get someone fit. He's no longer losing weight with his medication now, so he is super lean and strong - not unlike the Power Rangers.
He wants to help and protect people
OK, he was beginning to pull at my heart strings now! But it's true. Anthony tries to protect everyone. He's petrified of his little sister walking out onto the road. He is desperate to keep everyone safe. The best way he tries to do this is my helping people follow the rules. But his general empathy far exceeds what you may think you'd find in a nine year old boy with autism. He even wanted to protect the kids who bullied him at school so they wouldn't get into trouble.
He moves fast
Anthony loves speed. Roller coasters, driving on motor ways, he's even into motor sports himself. It's as if he should have been born on a planet with a faster spin. When he's rushing around the house, he is almost a blur.
He's good at fighting
OK, that sounds a bit of a disaster but it's not really. Both Anthony and his brother David are on the autistic spectrum and they are both sensory seekers. It's a bit like having an itch that you need to scratch I guess. But it's not an itch, it's a need for pressure or loud noises or something else that stimulates their senses. This means they seek out touch and contact; hugs, rolling and rough and tumble play are in abundance in our house.
And my absolute favourite and I'm paraphrasing for comprehension:
"I'm not the same as everyone else and it can be difficult sometimes, but I'm still best when I'm myself"
Because the Power Rangers are special and they are different from the other kids in school. This means they have to take on evil aliens and protect the world. But being who they are makes them stronger in their battles and only leads to victory. And at the end of the day, even though they are different, they are also just kids who go to school.
Yes Anthony, you are awesome!
Needless to say, my eldest boy is super excited that the Power Rangers Movie has just come out. Well done to all those involved in the making of the movie, for making it even more relatable for our lad. His only suggestion - if he'd chosen a Ranger to be autistic it would be the red one, but only because red is his favourite colour.