My kind of Autism..
Recently the CDC came out with their number of diagnosed cases of Autism. 1:68. Each of those cases are so unique to that person. The puzzle piece has always been the “unofficial” mascot or symbol for Autism. Mainly because of Autism Speaks. It has now become so widely known that Blue and puzzle pieces are associated with Autism. Which is fantastic in the grand scheme of things. But what about the person. The person who has this disorder. The “Light it Up Blue” Campaign is great for putting Autism on the map for a month. One whole month. But the question goes back to, “What about the person who actually has this?” And that right there is My kind of Autism. The stories of individuals. Unique Individuals. Who, in a sense only share a diagnosis.
For me I have two kinds of Autism living in my house. Two very distinctly different forms of the same diagnosis.
I have the autistic child that is withdrawn. Will shy away from sensory stimuli. Socially immature for their age. Academically behind. A child that perservates over questions. Questions they know the answer to, but still needs to ask over and over again. They wildly flap their hands and feet when overstimulated. They have meltdowns that the world doesn’t understand when there is change. They are particular in the way things need to be done.
The other autistic is a whirlwind. Never stops. Has no concept of where their body is in space. They have sensory issues where they gravitate towards sensory stimuli. Loud noises, bright lights, motion, textures that are magnified. They will only eat 4 things on this planet. Their sensory needs are so magnified that trying to focus on something is difficult. They are non verbal. Where when trying to communicate reaches a level of frustration that results in bite their own arm.
So as you can see there is two very different autistic children. They share a diagnosis. That’s it. So when the CDC and Autism Speaks puts out their numbers about cases, think about how many unique individuals are out there. With that number, we need to educate more. With every ignorant remark, is a chance to set the record straight. That not every Autistic person is like Temple Grandin, Carly Fleischmann or even Dustin Hoffman in Rainman. Temple and Carly are good spokespeople for those who are Autistic, but they are their own person. Uniquely different from each other and others. Rainman was the extreme look at what it was like for a person with Autism. But all three are not my kind of Autism.
My kind of Autism is in the form of two fantastic children, who are sweet and kind. They feel, see, hear and taste this world uniquely to them. And with that, they have challenges that only they have to face. So when it comes time for “Autism Awareness Month”, “Light it up Blue” and puzzle pieces everywhere, please remember the individual. Educate when you can. Fight for them to live as human beings on this planet as they were put on this earth to do. To live.