This post was originally published by Katrina Moody on Kat’s Cafe, at http://katscafe.org/boys-with-autism-awesome and is reprinted here with permission from the author.
Being Positive about Autism
Last year I was a part of the Autism Positivity project because I felt it was so important to present the positive side of autism. Our reality, yes, but not always so awful, autism is just a part of who my boys are, and my boys with autism are freakin’ awesome!
I’m not going to say it’s always rainbows and puppy dog tails, but my three guys have shown me, time and time again, how utterly awesome they really are, and this year’s Autism Positivity Project asked us to focus on that “Ausome” and share it around.
I couldn’t ask for a better reason to share a bit of our reality with you all. You see, it’s easy to be depressed, to feel overwhelmed, and to worry about the future when you have children with special needs. It doesn’t matter if your kids have autism or some other diagnosis, if you can’t see the positive in it and who those amazing kids are then it’s harder than ever to be the best parent you can be.
Lots of people will tell you about what you can’t do. About how debilitating having autism can be. This is what I’ve noticed from a lot of non-autistic people. They either lower their expectations of you, or if you are deemed “high functioning”, then they will insist you are not autistic. That is wrong.
Remember: there’s a lot of things you CAN do as well. There are a lot of positives with autism, so work with your strengths. You are more capable than what some people would like to tell you. Just because you have autism doesn’t mean you’re meant to be a vegetable. We have a lot to offer to the world.
Sure, autism is pervasive. It defines us by colouring how we perceive and interact with the world. That doesn’t make how we operate “wrong” in any way. It’s just different.
I’m autistic, yes. I don’t make a big scene about it, but I do let people know that I have it. It’s a part of me and it shouldn’t be denied, in the same way as my ethnicity and background. I’m also a photographer, I’m studying for a Master’s in Art and Design, a freelance writer and a musician.
Do I have difficulties from autism? Yes, all the time. I’ve been described as having “extreme difficulty with sequential thinking” and “global cognitive difficulties”. Considering some of the…well, stranger ways my brain works sometimes, yes, I agree with that.
However, I refuse to let those labels restrict my aspirations. Don’t let your labels restrict you, too. There are always methods to work around anything.
This post was originally published by Rachel on Autism Collage at http://autismcollage.tumblr.com/post/49333861042/autismcollage-celebrates-1000-ausome-things, and is reprinted here with permission from the author.
Today I would like to celebrate getting to know my Autie little brother.
I met him a few years ago. He was a startling addition to our family and immediately became the prince of our home. His favourite foods are cereal, ice-cream, and chips, which he would gobble up (with passion) at any opportunity. He is most skillful at riding his scooter at great speeds, through narrow spaces and around sharp corners. He even rides backwards at times, scaring my Mother to bits.
My brother is an expert of his environment – he taps sticks to explore different surfaces and sounds within his surroundings, and listens carefully to reverberations within enclosed spaces. He loves water – splashing it about, placing his hands and nose on the skin of it, jumping into it. I often wish I could perceive my environment the way he can.
My brother is an intelligent, intuitive person with a strong independent streak. He might not say much, but can understand much more than he can express. He chooses his company wisely, and is not afraid to show his displeasure towards anyone who upsets him.
I love my brother to bits, and will always strive towards understanding him, and the Autistic community better. I hope that one day he will be able to join the online community himself.
Today I celebrate getting to know him – it has been an honour! Thank you lil Matt, for absolutely changing my life.
[description: a young Asian woman in her “tweens” is playing a violoncello with the assistance of a caucasian woman in her twenties, who is helping to hold the bow steady while the young Asian woman is guiding its motion with her hand; the young Asian woman has her fingers on the ‘cello fingerboard, her feet are up on the chair-stool on which she is sitting; she is looking ahead very intently, and she has a slight and subtle smile on her face.]
My child is Ausome.
Sensations overwhelm her brain – her body reacts, recoils,
then she regroups, re-engages,
fully immersed in the presence of her experience
beyond joy, beyond distress
Her tribe is Ausome.
Empathically embracing, gently firmly teaching
Celebrating and mourning, angry and loving
Generous and persevering in the face of unfathomable rejection
I am Aued.
(thanks to Paula Durbin-Westby, on whose blog this image originally appeared, with the following reflection: http://autismacceptanceday.blogspot.com/2013/04/testimony-to-power-of-autism-acceptance.html)
This post was originally published on Autism Art Project at http://autismartproject.blogspot.com/2013/04/1000-ausome-things.html and is reprinted here with permission from the author.
I used to think that preschool graduations were ridiculous. That was before Derek. That was before autism.
My perspective has changed.
They say a picture is worth 1000 words. My son doesn’t have 1000 words. By definition, Derek is still considered “non-verbal.” Does that matter? Not at all. Derek has found ways to communicate. If he can’t find the words verbally, he’ll take my hand and show me what he wants or point to things. If you ask me, his smile alone speaks volumes. So do his eyes.
When I look at this picture, I don’t see a little boy with a cheesy grin in a cap and gown. I see a million other moments that led to this one, great moment. I see a 2-year-old struggling to learn how to use PECS. I see a child with so many sensory issues that putting a hat on his head hurt him. I see the same boy with tears streaming down his cheeks on his very first day of preschool. And I see a child with big, shining eyes chasing after bubbles and finally saying his first word, “bubba.”
The cap and gown are symbols of how much Derek has accomplished; how much he has overcome in the past few years. My son learned more than just the ABC’s and 123’s in preschool. He discovered how to interact and play with other children. He figured out how to follow directions and ask for help. He learned how to dress himself and use the toilet on his own. I could go on and on…
I couldn’t possibly be more proud of this little boy.
He deserves a cap and gown.
He deserves cake and ice cream.
He deserves a party.
He deserves all that I have to offer as a parent.
He deserves every opportunity that the teachers and the school can provide.
He deserves the world.
(Because he’s ausome.)
We’ve always been very open with our son about his diagnoses of Asperger’s and severe ADHD. It has helped him understand that he is not a bad guy for his behavior, that it is explainable and that he can work to improve. Last year he began public school, 6th grade middle school, and was bullied and taunted – the kids did not understand his quirks – so we convinced the principal to allow him to read this paper that he composed about himself. The beginning to solving the problem was his classmates knowing the ‘why’. His openness helped tremendously! and encouraged others to be open with their differences <3
I really like to play on the computer, mostly Garry’s Mod. I have 3 cats, a dog and a bunch of fish and I really like animals. I really love Jolly Ranchers. I have a great memory and I like to learn new things. I’m just a regular kid, but you may have noticed that something about me is a little different. My doctor says I have Asperger’s, which is a kind of autism. I’m not sick. I’m not contagious. My brain is just ‘wired’ differently. It’s like it has a short circuit; sometimes it’s on, sometimes it’s off, and sometimes it misfires.
I have to think about a lot of things that I do, things that other kids can do without even thinking about them, so that takes more time for me to figure out. It can be really hard for me to explain what I mean, or understand what someone else means..
When I start saying something it’s really hard for me to stop until I finish the comment or statement.
Sometimes I can act a little weirder than I am – I don’t know when to quit – I can’t change gears very fast from one thing to another, or from one thought to another.
My hearing is extra-sensitive. It’s like everything is either too loud or not loud enough, so sometimes I make noises because it helps me to feel better. I don’t know why. I just do.
I don’t mean to make people uncomfortable when I get too close or when I look at them too long – I’m working on not being clumsy and not getting in people’s personal space.
I like things to stay normal – change is hard – I don’t really like surprises – little things can bother me, like noises and movement.
I’m trying to learn how to act right and be a friend, but I have a hard time getting along with other people.
If I ever offend you, you should tell me right away because sometimes I really don’t know when I’ve done something upsetting or silly. Please be patient with me while I keep learning.
My Asperger’s does not make me any less special than anybody else, but it also does not make me more special, just different. If you ever have any questions about Asperger’s, you can look on-line, or it’s perfectly okay to ask me! The more I talk about it the more I figure it out. If I don’t know the answer I’ll find it out and get back to you on it!
Thank you for listening.”
This post was originally published by Jessi Cash on Deciphering Morgan at http://www.decipher-morgan.com/2013/04/his-ausomeness.html and is reprinted here with permission from the author.
*Just a final note for Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. Figured I’d bookend the month.
That isn’t a typo in the header. “Ausomeness” or being “ausome” is being Autistic. It’s being my son, or like him. Of course, I’m biased, but I’m told by pretty much everyone who comes into contact with Morgan that he’s an ausome kid.
You know what? He’s going to grow up to be an ausome man, too.
My son doesn’t see bad in people, not that I’m aware of, and if he does, he doesn’t say anything about it. Well, if he sees you breaking the rules, he’ll say something.