I do not have an autistic child or an autistic person in my family. But I have known enough people affected by it to want to learn more. I first knew the brother of my best friend when I was in my late teens, early 20s. He didn't talk a lot, but he always remembered my name, which I got the sense was a special thing.
And now, as an adult, he did not register as different to Brady (though he would to an adult) and he makes stunning, beautiful decorative art you would expect to see in a high-end store.
Since then, I have another very good friend with a child who is autistic and there is a boy in Brady's school who is autistic. Because of what I have learned, I tell Brady this boy inside is a boy just like him, smart with lots of thoughts, but because of a difference in the way his brain works, he cannot express himself in words or behave like other kids. My boy considers this boy a friend and likes him a lot.
Autism occasionally pops into social consciousness. First with the movie Rainman. Next with the controversy over vaccinations and autism. Then Asperger's Syndrome - a milder form of autism - was mentioned related to the man who killed all those kids in Connecticut, though it's my opinion he was probably misdiagnosed and had an untreated mental illness. There seems to be no link between violent behavior and Asperger's.
But I wanted to learn more, to understand it as much as I could, and what I have found is that it is probably nothing like what you imagine. I cannot think of a more frustrating life situation than being "normal," maybe even very intelligent, inside but not being able to express it at all. The stories below made me see autism in a very different way, and I hope it will do that for you too.
Here are a few paragraphs from an article about a teenage girl with autism who was able to get enough counseling and therapy to learn how to type:
“You don’t know what it feels like to be me, when you can’t sit
still because your legs feel like they are on fire or it feels like a
hundred ants are crawling up your arms.”
Something extraordinary happened to Carly Fleischmann, a severely
autistic 14-year-old who, unable to speak, was once written off as
“It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can’t speak.”
Her words may never have been found if not for the relentless
determination of her family, who never gave up on her. Carly’s story is
how one child found her way out of the dense forest that is autism, and
how her experience may unlock the mysteries of this baffling disorder.
And here is a story about two men that I first saw on National Geographic's "Strange Behavior," both of whom have autism and learned to type and then formed a friendship. It is a truly amazing story:
"Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette are two men with autism who have
limited speech but a whole lot to say. As young people, both faced lives
of isolation, unable to convey their inner intelligence. It was not
until adulthood when each learned to communicate by typing—giving them a
way to express their thoughts, needs and feelings—that their lives
changed dramatically. After more than ten years of advocating for
people with autism, they felt it was time to take their message
global—to help people with autism in other countries around the world
break through the isolation they both knew so well."
- ► 2017 (53)
- Check your local grocery stores for sales!
- Weight loss tip: Fake banana split
- Free 1-year subscriptions to Inc Magazine
- 9 things I know about ADHD parents
- 39 weeks free of Wall Street Journal
- Money Saving Mom: Grace to kids, not shame
- Got my free $10 to Pizza Hut!
- Funny things Brady says... about a book...
- Parenting idea: Playing your child's game
- Recipes: Easy coffee cake, pork chops w/stuffing
- Teaching tool: The Invention Box
- Frugality: It's a lifestyle choice
- Muffin recipes: Cinnamon and apple butter
- Day 6 without school...winter storms Q and Rocky
- Money Saving Mom: 5 tips to waste less food
- Teaching tool: Modeling generosity
- Recreating a childhood memory: Snow Cream!
- No-Screen Sat: snow, errands, grandma
- Snow photos, deer tracks and Blizzard No. 2!!!!
- Around town on our Snow Day...
- Teaching health tip: Light-up toothbrushes
- Homework helper: letter tiles for spelling
- Funny things Brady says ... about Presidents...
- Funny things Brady says... in Dollar General...
- Day 19 getting off Paxil: More dreams and energy
- Coffee: My last vice
- Teaching tool: The Berenstain Bear books
- Autism: It's more than it seems....
- Near record-breaking snow in KS
- Day 16 getting off Paxil: A little dizzy
- KS Emergency State: What our blizzard looks like.
- Anxiety buster: eat enough, drink enough, sleep en...
- Structure for kids: Brady's shoe chart
- Like Christmas in my mailbox this week
- Funny things Brady says... about names...
- Funny things Brady says... in principal's office...
- Blessings in Disguise...
- The latest Whatever-You-Have Soup
- Funny things Brady says... about hummus (and humus)
- Try Something New Day: potato soup, vienna sausages
- Brady got his snow day... blizzard is here...
- You know you're in KS when... snow predictions...
- This week's deals at Dillons
- Parenting idea: "Talking" stories at bedtime...
- Sweet things Brady does ... new best friend
- Day 15 getting off Paxil: 10 mg to 5 mg
- Anxiety buster: Cut down on caffeine
- Weight loss tool: Prayer
- No-tech Sat.: Inventions, Sheriff Brady, grandma, ...
- Leaving your comfort zone can be fun!
- Kansas road pictorial: Our big blue sky
- Recipe: Quick veggie bake
- You know you're in the Midwest ... tumbleweeds
- Things that make me sigh... my boys...
- How I got free Pepsi following Money Saving Mom
- Weight loss tip.. single-bowl low-cal soup...
- Turn Valentine's Day around...
- Also got my free $5 to Amazon.com!
- I got my free $10 to Pizza Hut!!!!
- Valentines = caution for allergy kids!
- No-tech Sat: tp roll bowling, guacamole & more...
- Teaching tool: The Nature Box
- Lent for the Non-Catholic Catholic
- Updates to Prize Store make it new again.
- Try something new Thursday: prunes!
- Cool church sign I saw today...
- This is the 205th post!
- Day 7 getting off Paxil: No more dizziness!
- Wisdom from my Mom ... letting kids love...
- Sweet things Brady does... prayer in church...
- Day 6 Getting Off Paxil: A deeper laugh
- Funny things Brady says... about no-tech day
- Day 5 getting off Paxil: 3 realizations
- Getting off of Paxil is not fun, but worth it.
- 3 reasons I love tea - health, weight, happy
- I almost gave him egg! YIKES!
- Upside of food allergy: a healthier eater
- Encouraging a talent & house project update!
- Wisdom from my Mom: Pray for our foes
- Savings tip: Groceries at my fave store, Dollar Tree
- 6 reasons we should all walk more!
- Parenting through your flaws....
- Tortilla, turkey, cheese and pickle pinwheels
- Healthy Super Bowl food options
- Venison (deer) stir-fry
- No Screens Saturday: We had so much fun!
- Goodwill find: Two pairs of boots
- Try Something New Thursday: Whole wheat tortillas
- 7 ways to save on kids clothes
- ▼ February (89)
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