Today is Autism Awareness Day. While I may not (yet) be comfortable with Boo having an added diagnosis of Autism, I am getting there. There is no escaping the fact that Boo was tested and she has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. But what does this a child with autism look like?
It depends on the child. When Boo was first diagnosed my friend Julie told me that Autism Speaks has a motto: Meet one child with autism and you have met one child with autism. The children are as unique as a snowflake. Each wondrous and magical and heartbreaking beautiful.
A child with autism is born just as perfect as a child born without.
A child with autism will light up your world with their laugh just as child born without.
A child with autism will love and be loved by their parents, siblings and friends just like a child without.
A child with autism may love the beach, just like a child without. However it might take them longer to enjoy the experience. They may also wear sneakers at the beach but that’s okay.
A child with autism will learn to walk, run, jump and talk. Just like a child without.
This is what a child with autism looks like.
|Photo Credit: Jen Strano|
Can you tell? Can you see the autism? Probably not. I hope not. I hope when you see Boo or any child you see them and not one of their diagnoses. A child with autism works harder than the child without. A child with autism spends most of their days in therapeutic environments working to attain behaviors that will allow them to be included. A child with autism is loved by their parents and their peers. By their community.
“You are so out there” is a comment I hear a lot about Boo. But how can I hide her? If I am not out there how can you know a child with a special need and realize they are just like your own child.
Beautiful. Funny. Smart. Frustrating. Heartbreaking. Mysterious. Loving.
That’s why I blog. Why I refuse not to just stay home and hide. To hope just one person sees my child as Boo first and whatever label they put on her second. Well, eighty-third. Because let me tell you this, there is a lot of things about Boo I want people to see way before they see autism or undiagnosed genetic syndrome or intellectual disability.
This is just one face of autism.
Please join me in sharing your child’s face, their story, their life.