Earlier this week, I read a post promoting a flash blog meant to raise awareness of and challenge attitudes towards autistic people. Initiated by autistic blogger, Alyssa of “Yes, That Too” after the pro-autistic Facebook page Âû (Autistic Union) shared disturbing Google search auto options for Autistic People are and Autistic People should. The carnival welcomes bloggers to share their stories of Autistic People are and Autistic People should “[to change] search strings and the search results by way of putting good things out there.”
The post led me to search Autistic Kids Are and Autistic Kids Should and the results were equally disturbing.
Granted, they are not all horrible but it’s still terrifying, heartbreaking, unthinkable. And if I were a mom new to the autism diagnosis and I found this, I’d feel even more scared and alone.
It’s been almost five years since my son Norrin’s autism diagnosis. I’ve met enough autistic children and adults to know that they are stigmatized by people and children who do not understand.
It is time for everyone to understand. 1 in 88 kids are diagnosed with autism. 1 to 1.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. Autism is the “fastest growing developmental disability.” April may be Autism Awareness month but for me, for parents of autistic kids and for autistic adults – Autism Awareness is every single day. So I asked some autism parents to share a little something positive about their kids.
Autistic Kids Should Be Free To Flap 1 of 12It is one of my favorite things about my son now, his flapping. I love watching his arms build momentum, love knowing his hands and heart are free, love wondering if indeed one day he will soar into the sky, knowing that if he did I would wait forever and a day for him to come back to me.
[Andrew, 10 years old]
Photo Courtesy of Jo Ashline A Sweet Does of Truth
Autistic Kids Are Full of Life and Joy 2 of 12My son brings me joy and amazes me every single day.
[Josiah, 9 years old]
Photo Courtesy of Cathlene Echan Photo Credit Heidi Ploog of Ploog Photography
Autistic Kids Are Special 3 of 12Angel is special because he brings joy to everyone around him. Sometimes I think he is too friendly. He is special because he has shown me what it means to love someone unconditionally. He is special because when he sets his mind to something he gets it done. â€¨â€¨
[Angel, 5 years old]
Photo Courtesy of Miz Kp, Sailing Autistic Seas
Autistic Kids Should be Considered as Viable Members of Society 4 of 12All Autistic Kids should be considered a viable part of society whether they socialize as typical children or not. Society as a whole, should be more supportive and less judgmental of kids with Autism. Noah has his moments where Autism is really present but other times anyone who sees him would assume he is a typical child.
[Noah, 7 years old]
Photo Courtesy of Judy Ruiz
Autistic Kids Are Caring 5 of 12Autistic kids are caring human beings. What I love most is when Noah spontaneously comes up to me and gives me a hug and a kiss and tells me "mommy, I love you very much" that is simply priceless. He's also very caring child. If he knows his sister is sick, he'll go to her and will put his hand on her head and will ask her, "Are you sick, Hailie? Are you going to get better?"
[Noah with big sister Hailie]
Photo Courtesy of Judy Ruiz
Autistic Kids Should Be Respected 6 of 12Autistic kids should be respected like any other person or child would be regardless of their disability. Children in the community should be taught how to welcome children with disability so that if they see them in the park they feel comfortable approaching them to play. Adults need to be aware of how a child with a disability may act in public and not assume that it's a child misbehaving or a parent not doing their job.
[Ajah, 9 years old]
Photo Courtesy of Tanya Rivera
Autistic Kids Are Friendly 7 of 12Ajah is ready to greet anyone with a hug. Ajah is very friendly and tries to engage with other children but because she is nonverbal it is hard for typical kids to understand her needs and show interest in her.
[Ajah with little brother Noah]
Photo Courtesy of Tanya Rivera
Autistic Kids Are Loving 8 of 12Ewan is five years old. He has never been slow to show affection, and he gets most upset when he thinks someone he loves is upset with him.
Photo courtesy of Carmen McLellanï»¿, What is Autism Anyway?
Autistic Kids Should be Given a Chance 9 of 12I desperately want my girls to have friends. And that's going to require someone giving them a chance. To be willing to be seen with the "weird" girls who covers their ears when the class is loud, the girls who talk about Rainbow Dash ALL THE TIME. Because they have great imaginations. They write great stories, and have notebooks filled with poems and song lyrics. They just needs enough friends to form a band.
[Sarah and Devon, 9 years old]
Photo courtesy of Christine Piecyk
Autistic Kids Are Bright 10 of 12Kids with autism are really smart, so much brighter than any test score reveals.
Norrin, 7 years old
Autistic Kids Are Sweet 11 of 12Donovan is very affectionate and loves to give hugs. He has moments where if he sees someone upset he will ask if they are okay and try to comfort them they way he knows how.
[Donovan, 7 years old]
Photo Courtesy of Lizette Hernandez
Autistic Kids are Just Like Us 12 of 12Emilia proves you are never too young to start raising awareness. Last year, Emilia gave a speech for Autism Awareness Month about autistic kids like her younger brother Charlie "They are just like us, but have a hard time learning or communicating."
Photo Courtesy of Jessica Kesselman
Would love your thoughts! Fill in the blanks (in the comments) about your kids.
Autistic kids are _________.
Autistic kids should _________.
Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.