Zoom Autism Magazine Issue12 - Page 42

ever , has nothing to do with being a special needs family . When we found out that we had circumstances different from typical families , I went through a short period of what I can only describe as despair . This was because I did not realize that as different as I believed the challenges my family would face would be from the challenges of other families , they really were not so different at all .
What I discovered was that every family has challenges , and it is how we rise or fall to face them that define us . It was in the face of these challenges that Teddy ’ s second piece of advice suddenly felt deep and profound .
On the surface , saying “ let me check with my wife ” sounds meek and weak-willed , letting Teddy ’ s first piece of advice run roughshod over the checking husband . I suppose some people could take it this way , but those people would be wrong . but we do want them to be part of some of the decision-making processes . We want them not to just feel heard ; we want them to be heard .
How that voice is expressed is different for everyone , my girls included . What I have worked hard to do is learn how to listen , knowing that communication comes in many different forms . The way Katie communicates is different from the way Brooke communicates , which , in turn , is different from the way Jess communicates . I try my best not just to listen to what each is trying to say but to hear it as well .
Communication isn ’ t always easy . Sometimes what worked yesterday will not work today or tomorrow before working again next week , but as long as we continue to validate each other ’ s voices , we continue to find ways to rise to and overcome the challenges life brings us .
Take the time to listen , and happiness will follow .
“ Let me check with my wife ” is all about communication ; it is all about equality and partnership . Some partners may feel the need to have one spouse dominate the deci-

sion-making process — that is their prerogative , but in our family , Jess and I like to think of each other , and treat each other , as equals . This has been a major key to our success as partners and parents .

What I discovered was that every family has challenges , and it is how we rise or fall to face them that defines us .

This empowerment of voice is something we have tried to pass down to our girls . They are our children , so they cannot make family decisions ,
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ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses