“He’s a bit of an odd duck,” people say about those who don’t quite fit into their idea of normal.
For some reason, the phrase “quirky bird” comes to me more often than “odd duck.” I find myself using “quirky” as a friendly way to describe the many people I know who are a bit off track from what society considers to be typical.
If someone else says I’m a little quirky, I embrace it with a smile. I’ve never wanted to feel like I’m marching to the same drummer as everyone else.
When it comes to the more intense differences in behavior that pop up with someone like my younger son who is severely autistic, “a bit off track” or “a little different” doesn’t capture the extreme differences others might notice.
Not being able to communicate easily, and sensing the world differently from most people leads to some unusual behavior. He changes shirts three times along a hiking trail (can’t bear the feeling of sweat), loudly yells requests rather than saying them quietly (due to difficulty regulating voice volume, and limited vocabulary), and moves in sudden, unexpected bursts (due to an always overflowing supply of compulsive impulses).
Quirky as he and we may be, we enjoy views of unique, interesting scenery and creatures along the paths we take. Though he occasionally does something cringeworthy enough to have people briefly staring, our autistic son is a loving, good person who we are grateful to have the opportunity to take out in the world.
Like the story of The Ugly Duckling, sometimes the “odd duck” has beautiful swan qualities that others can’t quite see yet.
This week’s Hike Notes, Sausalito Stroll from the Bay Model, leads readers along the bayside streets of Sausalito, with kayaks and sailboats highlighting views of Angel Island, the East Bay hills, and the San Francisco skyline.
Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Browse hikes on the main Hikes page or on the Hike Search by Area (was Quick View Hike List) page. Click World Walks to see or share favorite family-friendly walks! Stay in touch with Lisa Louis and HikingAutism via Contact.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photo galleries at the bottom of each hike page! Please feel free to share, and follow on Twitter at @HikingAutism
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Hike Notes 143: Sausalito Stroll from the Bay Model
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.