Monday, August 11, 2008

Autism 101

It really worries me sometimes when I see parents of autistic children say "I hate autism".

I don't hate autism.
  • I hate the way I have trouble understanding autism.
  • I hate the way society doesn't accept autism.
  • I hate the way people refuse to educate themselves on autism - and I am talking family members, the parents of children who befriend autistic kids, teachers and health professionals.
  • I hate the way the Australian Government has created packages for children with autism that STOP once they reach school (because Autism doesn't stop).
  • I hate the way people pretend to listen to me about aspects of autism and completely ignore what I say.
So far I have been told Torin has autism because I fed him preservatives (I didn't) and that he'll "grow out of it".

But the things I love about Autism are as follows:
  • The way Torin's language delay makes him mis-pronounce some words. When he began speech therapy he pronounced "elephant" as "abacus". He still asks for "pitter-patter" (Peanut butter) sandwiches. When I tell him off he says "Piggapardon" (LOL!) and his response to "Don't argue with me" is "Don't arg-me with you". It provides many a chuckle!
  • I am fascinated to watch the way he interprets what he sees and re-produces it and how creative he can be with his mediums. He knows his alphabet but writes in a very strange way.He reproduces scenes from "Super Mario Brothers" out of Duplo blocks. And his drawings (which are also Super Mario Brothers *sigh*) are so intricate and detailed.
  • It's shown me how to compromise.
  • It's taught me to be more careful about what I say. Don't say "Let's go home" if we're going home via the shops.
  • The main thing I have learned is to respect the fact that not everyone is affected by something in the same way. While I find listening to children learning to play the recorder or violin irritating, to Torin it's literally PAINFUL!

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