My daughter was being exceptionally quiet in her room last night so I thought I would go and take a sneaky peek to see what she was up to. When I went into her room she was sitting on her bed writing. I asked her what she was writing and her response, ‘I’m telling everyone about my autism’! Now, despite the fact that my daughter has a severe learning disability and autism, she has always been fantastic at reading and writing, although doesn’t usually understand a lot of what she is reading. Her writing is very immature with awful spelling and is written in the style of I suppose a first year primary school student, even though she is almost 14 years old. But, I am very proud of this skill she has mastered and continues to persevere with. She knows how much I love to write and read and I am hoping this has rubbed off on her a little. I should point out that earlier on in the day FD had heard some news programme about Autism awareness day and I had spent some time explaining what it meant.
Anyway, to get back to my story. I asked FD if I could read what she had written and she agreed I could. Below is what she had written. I have not written it out exactly word for word because others may not get her sentence construction or understand the way she has spelt certain words. I have tried to keep it as much as the way she has written it though as it oozes such innocence. And I have taken the general message from it. So here it is. Have tissues ready people because I can tell you I needed them.
‘My name is FD and I am 13 years old. I have ASD and it stands for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I was born with ASD. I am very special with my ASD because not many people can do stuff like other people can. Some people aren’t lucky to have a learning disability. But that’s ok. But I do and don’t mind. I am very proud and very special. All of my friends were born with a learning disability. It makes them very special like me. It doesn’t matter what way God makes you. You don’t have to be born with a learning disability or special needs. You can actually be born normal. But that’s ok so don’t worry about it if you are normal. If you have something like I do don’t be ashamed to show it. You don’t have to hide it. Show the world how special you are with ASD or any learning disability. People who love you and care about you makes you more special. It doesn’t matter which school you go to or if you have something wrong with your brain or your body. If you go to a special needs school like I do you are more special and you learn some things that others don’t. And thats what autism is about. It means you are special and people who know you love you very much, whether you are born with autism or not. You are still special. There are millions of people like you with autism. You are still special and loving and caring and god loves everyone and that’s why they have an autism awareness day to show people how special you are. ‘
I cannot tell you how difficult it was not for me to break down in front of her. What wonderful insight for a child who struggles with life on a daily basis. A child who requires so much assistance in her life and at times can’t even manage her own personal care. What a wonderful perspective she has on life and I am proud she is my daughter. She is my hero. She is the superwoman I strive to be.