April is Autism Awareness Month and one mom’s post about a trip to the paint store is serving as a lesson for all of us.
It all started, Kemrey Taylor tells Babble, when her daughter Kemzey was diagnosed with autism when she was 2 years old. Kemzey loves to create art and her favorite medium just happens to be the walls in her home.
In her post, Kemrey describes her daughter’s “sneaky” ways of acquiring the tools necessary to create her wall art.
“She somehow magically produces markers/various writing tools and makes some seriously awesome murals for us,” she writes. “My method for dealing with this has evolved into- just let her do her thing, let her explore her creativity, she’s going to find a way anyways, and once the walls are full of drawings, wash them and paint over it.”
What an amazing approach, and undoubtedly, a difficult one.
Wall art has created a challenge for Kemzey’s teachers, as well. “They try to hide things from her in class, but she always finds a way to get into them,” her mother says. “I guess she’s attempted some murals at school as well …”
Kemrey reveals she recently had an experience she describes as a “beautiful lesson about patience” that gave her a great sense of hope for her daughter’s future.
While she was at a busy store waiting to have new paint mixed (to cover another mural), a store associate informed her they were training a new employee. Kemrey notes that while she has a lot of patience, after an a hour of waiting she found herself a “a wee-bit grumpy.”
When it was finally time to mix her paint, she immediately recognized the trainee had autism by how particular he was with each step and the way he performed “mini hand stims in-between each task.” She says the signs were so subtle, others may not pick up on it.
“After I let the guilt wash over me for being annoyed, my heart just swelled for this kid. The guy training him was so patient, I just wanted to give both of them hugs. I don’t even know who this kid is, but I was SO proud of him.” Kemrey says.
More and more businesses are recognizing the value of hiring individuals on the autism spectrum. Huffington Post named four major companies actively tackling the autism unemployment rate and many small businesses are getting involved as well.
Jack’s Bar and Grill, located in Arvada, CO, employs 40 developmentally-disabled adults, including those with autism. The owners of the restaurant recognize the value of the individuals they hire, as well as their unique skill set. “I had a woman ask me the other day, ‘Does a machine dice your tomatoes?’” co-owner Athan Miller told The Denver Post. “I said, ‘No, we have a woman who’s autistic who dices our tomatoes.’ They are perfect.”
Kemrey ends her post with sage advice for all of us:
“We should always give people the benefit of the doubt, we have no idea what they are going through or how difficult things are for them. Don’t jump to conclusions or judgments, just let those impatient feelings float on by.”
Kemrey also shared her hopes for her daughter’s future. “It made me made me wonder if Kemz will be able to communicate and have a job someday. I have no idea what the future holds for her, but I have a lot of hope that she will be able to find her way in this world.”
With a mother like Kemrey, I have no doubt she will.