Wisdom Wednesday: Autism Awareness
April is Autism Awareness month, so at this time of year I always think about how my life has changed since we received my son’s diagnosis several years ago. Jacob was five when we received the official word, and although we knew already that he would likely be diagnosed with autism, it was still a blow. But you know what? My life hasn’t really changed that much since then. Sure, I had to get over the initial shock of hearing it “officially” from the doctor…but after that, I realized my son was still the same little boy he’d always been.
I’ve learned a few things over the past few years. The first is that while autism may cause Jacob to process information differently, it does not mean he can’t learn. That’s far from the truth! He breezes through most school subjects and makes great grades.
Another common misconception is that children with autism do not display affection. While that may be true for some children, most do show affection in their own way. Jacob is very loving and enjoys being very affectionate with us, his immediate family. Anyone else, well — you’ll be lucky to get a high five! Socialization is hard for our little guy and is something that we work on regularly.
This is what I know. Autism affects my son, but does not define my son. He is a very bright, funny, caring little boy. It’s hard to know what to expect when you receive any diagnosis from the doctor about your child. No one wants to hear that anything is wrong with their child. At first, I wanted to figure out how to fix him. But then I realized he wasn’t broken. He is such a huge part of our family, just the way he is. Sure, we have to stick to a routine and deal with some sensory issues, but it’s really not that hard. It’s made us slow down and enjoy life a little more.
My biggest wish for you? Learn about autism. Learn how it affects those with the diagnosis. Don’t be scared to ask questions. People with autism know they are different. No two people with autism are alike. It affects everyone differently, hence the “spectrum”. They can’t help that certain things are very overwhelming to them, even though you think they shouldn’t be. Just take my word for it…it’s not a discipline issue.
Of course, above all else, Jacob is a boy, so he acts like a little boy. A little boy with autism. He requires a little bit of patience, but he’s worth it! He loves to play, loves his family, loves to learn, has normal struggles and needs lots of love. Just like anyone, really!
~We are pleased to welcome Tonya Garrick as a guest blogger for LWB today. Tonya is wife to a great hubby, mom of two exceptionally awesome boys and one little girl waiting in South Korea. She writes two blogs of her own: http://peaceloveandcaffeine.wordpress.com/ and
Do you have someone you love in your life with autism? What other bits of wisdom would you share with our readers?