April is Autism Awareness Month – Day 2 of 30.
Anyone living with/caring for someone on the autistic spectrum knows that the need for awareness and acceptance is 24/7, all year around.
Today – World Autism Awareness Day or #WAAD – is a chance to try and educate those people who aren’t aware of how autism affects carers and individuals.
It’s also a chance to demonstrate that, despite what is portrayed in the media, people on the spectrum aren’t evil monsters but at the same time, highlight that autism is an invisible disability. It’s a big ask to expect people who aren’t aware to look beyond their initial perceptions and judgements.
All the children below have autism/aspergers. All have a life-long disability, they can’t be cured but, hopefully, they will learn to develop coping strategies.
Can you look at these pictures taken today and tell they have autism? All photos used with parental permission.
This is J….playing:
This is S….travelling on a bus:
This is L-M…having a drink:
This is C…showing his Easter choc (I wonder if they’re in his tum yet!):
This is E…..laughing:
This is Z….riding a carousel:
This is E….being Spider-Man:
Another Spider-Man, this is R:
This is S…looking gorgeous:
This is L….handy in the kitchen:
This is A ….being Mario:
This is A….looking handsome:
This is E….looking like a film star:
This is E….looking thoughtful:
This is J….another Spider-Man!
These are T and S….two brothers (love the costume):
This is T….playing:
This is B….taking a break:
This is J….looking cheeky!
These are cousins J and J….looking very smart:
This is M, playing with his brother J:
This is D……with her faithful Bunny:
This is T….reading:
These pictures are great aren’t they? But, as I said in a previous post:
The Camera DOES lie:
My daughter is 8 years old. If you saw her in a photograph, you’d think “pretty girl, nice smile” – if you met her in person, I’m sure your perceptions would change.
You see, my daughter has autism or ASD – also known as the “invisible disability”. The autistic spectrum is wide and varies from mild to moderate to severe difficulties.
Autism affects my daughter in many ways but the main three are:
Speech & language difficulties
Delayed social skills
Obsessive compulsive disorder.
She also has delayed motor skills and heightened sensory awareness.
Fortunately for me, my daughter is verbal but when her anxieties take over (which they do if she is faced with a change of routine/sensory skills overload/an unfamiliar situation), she will either bolt (run away fast without thought for her own or others safety) or meltdown (totally emotional and sometimes violent outburst).
I risk assess everything before we travel anywhere – even a trip to the supermarket has to be done at a quiet time and we use her special needs buggy as her comfort zone. Even then a person in the next aisle may look threatening to her or she will be startled by a sudden noise and she will want to leave immediately.
So, that child breaking down in public may not necessarily be “behaving badly” – look beyond your initial thoughts and at the wider picture.
Let’s hope that the coming year brings greater awareness and acceptance for those children pictured above and everybody within the vast spectrum, it’s a wish I’ll be making.
Thanks for reading on World Autism Awareness Day.
J x A very proud Mumma