Not Little Things

I discuss “little” things that aren’t “little” things all the time here on the blog.

Judging by my reading of many other autism parent blogs, a lot of you do the same.

Not Little Things are the rungs on the ladder of success we want our children to climb, with the ultimate goal being a life that is happy, fulfilled, and with the fullest possible participation in society.

These Not Little Things are obstacles that stand in the way of any of those goals — the ability to tie one’s shoes, to tolerate hockey equipment, to make a friend, to be flexible or to participate on a team — and when a Not Little Thing is achieved it is cause for celebration.

Not Little Things can be physical, emotional, social or intellectual. They can be subtle — being in on a joke, understanding the meaning of a bed time story, recalling a happy memory.

Not Little Things can come as observer or as participant.

No matter what form they take, Not Little Things share one thing in common: they are never, ever little.

With that in mind, I present the latest Not Little Thing in our house. In this final week of summer, in the midst of building anxiety and lots of self-aware questions about friendship and social situations, Ryan found time to lighten the mood.

Riley decorated the door to her room the other day, covering it with inspirational quotes and song lyrics, written out in perfect handwriting and placed precisely in various spots on blue Post-It notes:

Riley's door
Riley’s door, decorated with inspirational quotes.

The first day, I stopped to admire her handiwork and compliment her on it. Last night, as I walked by, I noticed a subtle addition. Did you catch it?

Here, have a closer look:

Let's Go Sharks
Ryan added his own special touch to Riley’s door.

I loved it. It was a harmless prank — he didn’t destroy any of her work, but rather added to it in his own sneaky way. But it was the details that I really loved. To pull this off required Ryan to focus on those details. To use the same type of Post-Its, to align his addition with all the others. To be subtle — not exactly something he comes by naturally.

He pulled it off so well, that as of this morning, Riley had not yet noticed.

We congratulated him on his successful sneak attack, and I smiled each time I saw it.

To the neutral observer, this may not meet the definition of a Not Little Thing, but you and I know otherwise.


20 thoughts on “Not Little Things

  1. great example of a not little thing. moments like these provide a glimpse of terrific, positive changes (his mind growing, expanding, developing new skills). yay for this new not little thing.


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