Meet Kyle Jetsel, a happily married father of six with two sons affected by autism. The Jetsel family has come to realize they have a choice. They choose to be optimistic, to repel discouragement and to THRIVE in the CHAOS. Kyle and his oldest son, Alek, have written a book that details the JOY, the ZANINESS, and the LAUGHTER that can result from children that have no fear of rejection, retribution and sometimes… no conscience. Kyle is originally from Dallas, Texas but now lives in Boise, Idaho.
Kyle and Alek shared a couple of snippets from the book with Autism Parenting Magazine. Their collection of personal and inspirational stories are sure to bring a smile.
Camping can be a lot of fun. But not necessarily for us. Case in point is a few years back we went camping with a bunch of families with their promise that the other families going with would help us ”keep track” of where Erik and Rick were at all times.
Of course, you know how that works right? Those who don’t have kids with special needs don’t really realize the gravity of NOT keeping track of them. (They can disappear in to the woods in a second) So we can NEVER really leave it up to others to help.
We tried to prepare as best we could an even went out and bought ”glow stick necklaces” that we could hang around their necks so we could see them better after it started to get dark. But as we got to the campsite chosen by friends we almost left immediately. No less than 50 yards away there was a lake. Not the choice we would have made for sure.
Things seemed to be okay while the sun was out, but as night fell and the campfire started, things got a little sketchy. First there was the open fire, which we found was a magnet for Erik and Rick. Not that they were going to get so close that they could be burned, but more likely, they would burn someone else as they found sticks, stuck them in to the fire and flicked hot ashes and ambers in to the air.
Then they moved away from the fire. Luckily they were easy to spot with their glow stick necklaces wrapped around their necks. Then the glow sticks – in unison – made a mad dash towards the water and flew in in the blink of an eye.
I was up and in pursuit in a flash and remember fear – and freezing water – coursing through my veins as I hit the water with a splash and started scanning the surface for 2 sweet (and in trouble) kids.
As my eyes got used to the darkness and things started to become a little clearer I looked back to the beach and saw Erik and Rick standing on dry ground looking at me with confused looks on their faces. They had thrown their necklaces in the water and were wondering why daddy had decided to go for a swim in the cold, cold water. Especially after daddy had told them it was too cold and not to go near it.
Body-Part Bedtime Story
Usually, I always wear a shirt around the house – if for no other reason than what happened a few nights back. Turns out, I had just gotten out of the shower after playing basketball with my buddies and it was past 10:00pm. Erik and Ricky SHOULD have already been in bed with the lights out – but they weren’t.
As I walked in to their room – wearing a pair of shorts and no shirt – to get them in to bed, a SPECIAL request was made. “Dad, Dad, could you read the bedtime story – WITH YOUR BELLYBUTTON?”
That’s right, we have many stories of bedtime story reading madness – but never had I been asked to read with a body-part.
Needless to say – they grinned from ear-to-ear as I used my fingers to create a belly-button mouth and ventriloquist-ed – badly, I might add – my way through the book. I did however, draw the line when they requested, “Dad, Dad, could you say A BELLYBUTTON PRAYER?”
It just seemed SO wrong.
This article was featured in Issue 39 – Working Together to Communicate Better