One of these days, maybe you'll understand that not meeting your eyes isn't me being rude; it's part of who I am.
Maybe you'll see that I'm not deaf, dumb or blind to your emotions and thoughts- I don't understand why you ignore me, avoid me or think less of me... but I know when you do, and it hurts.
One of these days, you may realize my routine is what keeps me functioning, and when you surprise me, sometimes that's scary, and I react badly.
I know my triggers, know when I need to step away, but sometimes not in time. I'm not disruptive for fun, or to be mean- sometimes, I simply can't help myself.
Maybe, one of these days, I will be recognized, by everyone, as more than a "problem", a "brat", an "issue" or "not normal". What is normal, anyway? To me, none of you seem very normal- I couldn't do things the way you do, even if I tried. And I do- most of you just don't notice me doing it.
I'm not attention seeking. I don't ask to be looked at any more than I ask to be looked over. I believe, fully, in the people around me- everyone is a friend. I have the purest heart and soul you could ever find in a person.... yet I make you uncomfortable, uneasy.
I am not a brat, a burden, or weird. I am autistic. You can learn about me, if you take the time. Learn my quirks, see that there is more to me than a diagnosis. I have a personailty- I'm funny, witty and full of life. You can learn about my condition by asking my family, or even taking a minute to look it up. And most of all, you can pay attention to me when I smile at you, or try to engage you in conversation. I have autism. Don't worry, it isn't contagious.
**April is Autism Awareness Month. Please take time to learn more about this condition.
I wrote this to open some eyes, and also because I know someone out there will read this and know exactly what I'm talking about. It's too easy to dismiss a special needs child- I see it every day. And as a mom, it's my job to change the thinking of those in my son's life. So, educate yourself, or others. Offer support, or help someone to find it. Believe me, one shoulder can make all the difference in the world- maybe that can be you.
Autism Society of America