by Laura Sylvester
Having lunch today at Islands was a great example of how Orbit and his service vest seem to inspire patience and acceptance in others. Today when the waitress asked Elliot “what’s your dog’s name?” she actually waited patiently while I encouraged him to answer. (Thank God for the Lilo and Stitch movie and the line “His name is....Stitch” and thank goodness we have been repeating it at home for weeks and substituting Orbit’s name.)
I was so happy that Elliot got the opportunity to practice answering this question for a stranger. You see, usually when a waitress talks to Elliot, it takes him/her about a nano second to get fed-up waiting for an answer and look to us for a response. But it seems when people read Orbit’s AUTISM SERVICE DOG vest they are more accepting and really that is my greatest wish. When people ask me what I want from strangers in regards to Elliot’s autism, I always say acceptance. I don’t want their pity or their help (unless it’s a real emergency), I just want them not to judge him for his quirky behavior and not to judge us for our parenting.
In addition to the reaction of others, two other pretty cool things happened today:
When we first arrived at Islands and got out of the car I realized we only had Orbit’s short leash (this is the one that Elliot holds) but we didn't have the long leash (the one Rick or I hold). I headed back to the car to get the long leash and Rick said, “Elliot’s got it, we don’t need it”. I was hesitant but agreed and Elliot did great! He walked Orbit into the restaurant and they stopped together at the hostess stand, then continued together to our table. Very exciting!!!
And, Elliot was very interested in Orbit at Island today, much more so than the last time we were there 3 weeks ago. Elliot kept reaching down to pet Orbit and check to see if he was still there. A sign that the bonding has begun, hooray!
Oh, p.s. and FYI - our Disneyland day got postponed until Monday (our annual passes were blocked out today).