Today has been designated a worldwide communications shutdown day to raise awareness of autism. The idea is that people do not log into Facebook or Twitter, stay offline and try to imagine the communication difficulties a person with autism faces.
An idea, but, being honest, I don’t feel that staying quiet for a day is the most efficient way to actually raise awareness of autism. So I am not going to be quiet. Instead I am going to blog, tweet and go on Facebook and TALK. I am not an expert on autism, but I am an expert on my three year old son who has autism.
If HRH was able to talk this is what he would tell you, please take a moment to meet my fabulous son and maybe gain some understanding of the difficulties he faces every day.
1. I am me. I have my own personality, autism is part of me but does not define me. I have likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, just as you do.
2. I have a great sense of humour. Yes, it is hilarious when I break wind, just like it is for all males.
3. I am a very gentle and affectionate child, I love hugs and kisses.
4. When you meet me please do not force me to interact with you. Say hello and give me space. You are new, I need time to adjust and get used to your voice, your perfume/aftershave and other things you won’t even have thought of or notice. Please do not take this personally. I will approach you when I am ready, I am worth waiting for.
5. I cannot talk yet, I only have a few words. I am able to communicate in other ways though, watch me and you will see this.
6. Believe my parents or my big brother if they tell you something about me. They know me better than anyone else in the whole wide world. They are used to my ways and understand me. If they tell you I am tired then I am tired. They are my voice until I find my own voice.
7. The world can be a very confusing place for me. I get scared a lot. When I get scared I might have a tantrum, that is how I communicate my fear. Or I might hide in my Mamas’ arms, or run away.
8. When I do have a tantrum it might just be because I am 3 years old and frustrated, the same way any toddler can be. Or it might be because I am overloaded with information and can’t cope. It is not because I am naughty or spoiled.
9. It is up to you, as an adult, to learn to accommodate my ways until I learn new ways. You also need to make allowances for my fears until I learn to overcome them. You can help me by being patient and understanding.
10. I am not ‘slow’. I need to learn differently than you do but I am bright and enthusiastic about my learning. I am not a genius either, like you I find some aspects of learning easier than others. (Oh, and I love my tutor).
Thank you for reading. Please take the time to help me spread the word today and tweet/repost this. There are sharing buttons below this post.