Someone challenged me to write about ‘random acts of kindness’, but there’s not a lot of ‘random’ in the world of autism! Most things need to be planned out; life goes much more smoothly that way.
But we DO encourage and help Lucas to perform ‘acts of kindness’. We want him to feel like part of the community, and to participate when and where he can.
These days, Lucas helps take care of the plants at our church. It’s something he’s able to do, and he seems to enjoy it.
Once a week, we take the watering can up to the church. There, he fills the can, and waters all the plants.
Lucas waters the plants at our church.
He also checks all the candles in the church, and replaces them if they need replacing.
Lucas carefully replaces all the spent candles in our church, too.
In a few weeks, he’ll begin to help me weed the grounds around the church, too. While he doesn’t know a weed from a flower, he CAN collect the weeds I pull, put them in a basket, and then take them to the dumpster.
Have you found a way for your child to participate in the community? Even if they’re not ready to do it now, the day might come when they CAN lend a helping hand.
We’ve known people who take their kids to help at the local animal shelter, spending an hour or two per week just petting and playing with the dogs and cats. (Animals can be easier to deal with than humans sometimes!)
Another idea might be to have your child help make some cookies to take to a neighbor or a local nursing home or medical center. Can they add the measured ingredients to the mixing bowl? Stir the cookie dough? I’m SURE they can ‘taste test’ them once they’ve cooled!
Most neighbors, especially those who live alone, would probably love a gift of cookies, and it would give your child the opportunity to become better known in the neighborhood.
You don’t even have to go into the neighbor’s house. Just prepare your child that you’ll knock on the door, say “Hi”, and leave the cookies with them.
Lucas has also helped to feed and care for a neighbor’s dogs when they go away. His dad goes with him, but Lucas helps let the dogs out to pee, puts their food and water in the bowls, then lets them back inside and plays with them for a little while after they eat.
There are many other acts of kindness needed in all communities. Check your church, libraries, neighborhood, local hospital, nursing home or animal shelter. Maybe you’ll find a way to help your child help someone else and become a part of the community, too!