Last year on Autism
Awareness Acceptance Day I was thinking about people’s perceptions of a child with a disability specifically Autism. I have read so many blogs written by very tired, anxious, desperate parents wistfully praying for a relationship with their beloved child. I have also read parent observations where they have presumed that because their child is not responding to them like other children do that their child is not aware of them, the environment, if its a special holiday and what that holiday means. I think its a very dangerous assumption to make unless you can read the child’s mind. Is it beyond frustrating? Yes. I have sat with tears in my eyes wanting to reach Johnny. I would not wish this feeling on anyone.
Here is my blog post from last year reading how I observed things with my son:
Johnny was there and experiencing everything. Its just hard for him to try and process everything happening around him because the world feels so very hard sometimes. It was especially hard to process when he was younger. A few days ago a video came out of the UK from the National Autistic Society to help people understand what sensory overload feels like for Autistic children and adults. A simple visit to the mall is always so much for a person on the spectrum. “Sometimes I get too much information” is what the little boy says in the video. I watched it and I was stunned at how my anxiety levels started to rise and my heart beat increased as I experienced the mall from my son’s point of view. I then started having flashes of desperate moments at the mall when all he wanted to do was hang out at the Disney store like the other kids and enjoy the new toys but it was all too much. Another time because he likes H&M store for kids clothes he had to endure the loud music while he stubbornly shopped but in the end was in tears as he let his Daddy get him outside the store. He had his pants but at what cost?
From the National Autistic Society website:
“Imagine feeling so overloaded that you just couldn’t cope. Imagine the difference it would make if someone showed you a little kindness, rather than judging you as a naughty kid having a meltdown, or a ‘weirdo’ flapping their hands.”
I think of when Johnny was only 2 years old and he wasn’t meeting developmental expectations and wonder if only we understood about sensory overload and Autism? What if we could have helped him with sensory integration then so that he could start to process so that he could learn? Instead there is such a push for ABA therapy to get the children to respond before creating an atmosphere where the child can learn. This unfortunately happens at school too as too many Autistic children are expected to sit and learn like other children when they do not learn like other children.
So sit down and watch this video and see if you can make it to the end to hear, “I’M NOT NAUGHTY – I’M AUTISTIC.”