Imagine being forced into a world that you don’t understand. You can’t speak their language, so you can’t tell them how you feel. But every day you are forced to try to adapt and conform. This is what an Autistic person goes through every day.
A couple of Saturdays ago I had the privilege of spending the day with my amazing niece. She is 14 years old, she is super smart and a joy to be around. She also has Autism.
Autism is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. It also includes restricted repetitive behaviors, interest and activities (mayoclinic.org)
Being a part of the life of a person with autism is a journey. It is a hard journey because you’re constantly concerned about the future for that person. How will they be able to communicate if they are non-verbal? Will they be able to take care of themselves as adults? You constantly think about what you can do to make their world comfortable and safer. Let’s face it in this world we either make fun of or hurt what we don’t understand.
That Saturday when I took my niece out, we went to Las Colinas Mustang Fountain. She was so excited to just sit there watch the water stream by and run over her toes. That made her day. As I sat there and watch her I thought to myself “What would it be like to be in her world?”
A world where I don’t have to communicate with others. I’m content with being with myself. A world where I don’t give a damn what the world thinks of me. If they want to stare let them. A world where just a simple thing like dipping my toes in a fountain brings me joy. I don’t need the material things of this world to make me happy. Wow what a world!!
For me that type of world is not normal. So instead of trying to understand her world, I’m trying to force her into my world. A world of chaos and disorder. A world where we make fun of people for being different. We call them retards, slow and laugh because of the type of bus they ride. A world where there is no compassion, just a lot of bitterness and hatred in our hearts. Why would I want to make her fit in a mess like that?
I need to stop trying to make her understand me and try understanding her a little better. The Autistic person in your life may not be able to communicate with you verbally, however their actions speaks volumes. You just have to pay attention. Spend time with them and don’t just cast them aside. Trust me when I tell you these kids are the smartest individuals you will ever meet. They deserve the opportunity to have the best life can offer.
To learn more about Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Down Syndrome click the links below.