So, what IS autism? and how could I be aware?? and why should I be aware???
The brain develops differently and has trouble with an important job: making sense of the world. Their minds work so differently that it is quite possible a gift! A gift to change the word of technology, art, mathematics, literature, and quite possibly, history!
First, say: AW-tiz-um & remember to identify the person before the disability, because let's face it- the disability is not the person's identity. Commonly, a person will not make you feel bad for incorrectly saying it and it is simply an act of respect saying you see the person first! I mean, you wouldn't say "loud laughing Rachael" but would say "Rachael who has a loud laugh." So, instead of "an autistic child", you would say "a child with autism."
Second, it is okay to make a mistake. Spread that grace jam on the toast of life and realize how great that is about learning when you are trying. The world is changing everyday and I am quite excited for YOU to learn so much more about the importance of Autism Awareness! It will help many individuals with autism be included socially, mentally, and physically in their everyday lives. We all desire friendships and that is why inclusion is my favorite word and my favorite verb is love.
Third, let me break down how autism is defined: Autism is a complex neurobehavioral disorder that includes impairments in social interactions and developmental language and communication skills combined with repetitive behaviors. So, everyone is different, just like everyone else! Some individuals with autism are non-verbal and others will talk your head off! Some will have a difficult time socially because they cannot understand facial expressions and jokes and others will not catch social ques that typically people will understand. Their behaviors could be very aggressive because they do not know how to process and reflect feelings and others may have a hard time channeling their feelings and not show feelings likely at all.
The greatest part about being a human is that we all desire relationships and we all have feelings, but we are all different in our own unique way. It is about try to meet in the middle and sometimes, going the extra mile to understand their world and not just making them understand "the world."
-Lack of eye contact
-Ask repetitve questions
-Misunderstanding facial expressions
-Difficulty catching jokes
-Difficulty making friends
-Obsession with an object or thought
-Sensitive to possible lights, sounds, smells, textures, touch.
-Difficulty to be flexible with change of schedule
-"Happy Hands" which is my way to describe them stimulating energy by flapping, clapping, or move arms dramatically
-They won't bail on you, which means you can really depend on them to come through!
-They retain so many incredible facts and create ideas that change the world forever! Check out Temple Grandin and how she is a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior!
-They're pretty honest, so they won't laugh at your jokes unless its actually funny. They're your best critics!
-The way their translate sentences into visions is so fun! If you say you are getting up with the hens, meaning you are waking up early, they may vision you on the roof with the hens in the morning, literally. quite the imagination~
-They're very passionate! Music! Art! Movies! Television! Dance! Theater! They really stick to what they believe in!
-They are not afraid to be themselves- how much confidence do you have?
-They really do like people... they do acknowledge your effort to get to know them!
I hope this was helpful & more importantly, uplifting.
Joyfully, Rachael M Cuellar