Saturday, April 2, 2011

My take on Autism Awareness

Well, it's April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, and consequently all the autism websites and bloggers I know are doing their best to promote awareness of all Autism Spectrum Disorders. But personal bloggers have an advantage. We don't just report the numbers and the statistics. We report personal stories. We report real-life situations. We report what we personally live through every day.

Just over 2 years ago, this family was thrown into "The Autism World", as our family's pediatrician phrased it. And at the time, I thought that was an amusing way to refer to it. But she was absolutely right. From that time on, in many ways I've felt removed from the rest of the world and found myself an unwilling member of an ever-growing group of families, faced with raising children with autism. These children don't see the world the same way as their neurotypical peers. They don't interact with the world as their neurotypical peers would. And because of these diverging views of the world, I've been privileged to restructure my own world. And I've found my own new obsession.

Since March 12, 2009, Autism has changed me and my life. Autism is everywhere. And it's part of everything that I do. I consider how Rachel and Simon will react to any new activity before deciding if it's worth trying. With Daniel, I used to say, "Well, let's give it a try and we'll just make it happen." Now I have to prepare the family for any new experience. Social stories has become a standard, even if it's not done in that form. Using YouTube to demonstrate similar experiences is another thing that I've learned to incorporate into introducing new things. I tend to ask for advice from teachers when planning a major event (like the Laurie Berkner Band concert last month). Again, with Daniel, we would just simply GO. But Autism has taught us the need to plan and consider every detail so that we can respond quickly if things don't go the way we envision.

We depend on routine. We depend on predictability. We depend on consistency.

And we have come to depend on Autism.

1 comment:

  1. Obsession is right, isn't that funny how that goes? I have days where I just kind of sigh and think "I don't want to have anything to say about Autism today. Can't the day just be 'today'?" But ASD is so pervasive that inevitably, something will come up and either some action or some serious thought or maybe serious discussion will just HAVE to occur. Autism has been life changing in ways I have not expected it to be when my son was first diagnosed.