There’s a lot of controversy around this video that was put out in which Autism was made out to be a man, a predator, who was preying on our children… kinda creepy but for me, it really made me think about how those so disconnected with Autism must think. I know for many, it’s how they think of cancer, or other stranger issues like flesh eating disease. These are things that attack people, they move in, attack, grow and take over. I think for some people, it’s just easier to think of Autism in that way.
The truth is though, there is no growth, there is no outside entity moving in. It’s something you just have, it’s a part of you. For all it’s good (savants) and bads (violence, lack of communication), it’s just part of what makes you who you are.
I recently ‘tweeted’ a simple line that came to me after watching that video: “Autism, it’s what my son has. Not the other way around.”
And I couldn’t help but think to myself, why don’t I make more of an effort to convey that to people when I’m describing to them how my son is. He’s every bit the normal little boy that every other child they deal with is. He just has some foods he can’t eat, like other children with allergies would, he has some issues with being overwhelmed or over stimulated, I had the same problem as a child, I’m not Autistic.
Autism is something that forces me to have to give people certain ‘tips’ and things to look for when they get to know him. They don’t have to put on a breathing apparatus or wear rubber gloves for fear of catching it, and they don’t have to completely alter entire systems or routines to suit him. They just need to be aware of a few things and all will be fine.
Some parents are not so lucky, I know this… and truly, my heart goes out to you because I can’t begin to imagine what that would be like. But for those of us who can get our child to talk, to be a part of the things we do… remember, they have Autism, they have issues, the Autism doesn’t have them.