I often worry when I talk about autism or I share things on social media, that people think we might be looking for sympathy or that we want attention. Well, I guess they are half right. No, I definitely do not want any sympathy. But attention, in my own way... yes, I do.
I try to share things so that people might have a little window into what it might be like to not only have a child on the autism spectrum, but also to be a child on the spectrum. I’ll admit I was one of the people that thought that autism was a very cut and dry diagnosis. That it was a child that does not speak, that has no form of communication or the ability to connect with others. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Autism, to us now, looks like many other children on the playground. It’s children that love to run and play and laugh with other kids. That cry when they are hurt and that want to be accepted and heard. Just like every other child.
We have also learned that although things may seem the same on the surface, underneath things can be very different and much harder than they appear. We’ve learned that these invisible lesions that don’t appear on the skin, like difficulties speaking, coping with anxiety, transitioning, and interacting with others, can be extremely exhausting for these children. But despite the struggle to communicate, we still see the same need to be a part of the crowd. To have friends sit at our table. To be picked to play the game. All the same needs as everyone else.
So I guess I do want attention. However, It’s not the attention you're thinking, it's not for sympathy. I want attention because I want to help others understand. Because there was a time when I didn’t understand and for me, it took living with 2 small children on the spectrum. My hope is by sharing my knowledge, you too can learn. And maybe if others could understand, they could then teach their children what autism is and to be kinder to the kids that may not speak well or that might act a little different than them. Because of all the things I (and every other parent with a child on the spectrum) worry about each day, maybe this could be one less thing.