If you’re happy and you know it

R. has been very into clapping and getting people to clap since Early Intervention. These days when she tells me to clap your hands, she means that she wants applause, and of course I oblige. Lately after I applaud, she says raise your hands, and then wants me to say yay.

I wonder if this is her way of saying, Mom, you’ve got an awfully flat effect. If you’d just throw yourself into things, you could enjoy this world so much more.

Maybe I do need to try to get more excited about the little pleasures in life. So I’ve been working on this. At the smell and taste of that first cup of coffee, I threw up my hands and said yay coffee. R. thought it was hilarious and encouraged me to say it again. I felt a little silly, and since I had to work at it, I can’t say that I’m experiencing the same joy as she is. But I did enjoy that coffee more than ever after cheering for it.

While there are many things that make her unhappy, R. is a happy person. It sounds almost trite to say that. Because what I really mean is that she can be so happy, it is like she knows secrets that I can’t even imagine.

Julia Bascom wrote a post, The Obsessive Joy of Autism, that I think should be attached to every single autism diagnosis. What if instead of being asked about R.’s special/restrictive interests by professionals, I was asked what brings her Obsessive Joy?





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  1. What a great post! It reminded me of how we all clap when Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” comes on in the car and only one of us (my non-spectrum-y daughter) has any rhythm 😉

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