Another question I get asked frequently when someone becomes aware I have a son with autism: does he show normal emotions?

I usually want to ask “what’s normal?”, but I don’t. But, seriously, what does normal mean? My emotions are mine. I can be happy, sad, upset, angry, etc. and those who know me well know what my emotions are saying.

I don’t express sadness the same way Steve, Brandon, Alex, and Josh do. I don’t express happiness the same way they do, but I know what I am seeing in them.

I like to think it’s the same way with someone with autism. We know when Brandon is happy…he smiles and laughs. We may not always know what he is laughing at, but we know he is happy.

8th grade graduation.

We know when he is mad. Angry jumping and very loud vocalizations. We always try to figure out what is making him mad. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t. But we keep trying.

I have made a conscious decision to never share pictures or videos of Brandon when he is angry or going through a meltdown. I would not want anyone doing that to me and I won’t do it to any of the people I love.

I will write about it, though. Why? Because it is part of who Brandon is. And it is hard. And it is challenging. And I want people to be aware of some of the not so fun parts of Brandon’s autism. I can talk about what has worked for us and get some tips from others who have been through it.

Below are some pictures of Brandon when he is happy, playful, and peaceful. We have a lot of those!

Stay well everyone!

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