Many of you may have seen posts on Facebook highlighting that today is World Autism Awareness Day. It seems to be a huge event in the USA but not as prominent in the UK. Hopefully this will improve in time, as from my experience of being a mum of two ASD children, I am coming into contact with more families that are affected by autism.
What would my 2 ASD children like you to know about autism?
My daughter wants to impress upon the world that it is not just boys who have autism, girls are affected too. After being diagnosed just over three years ago, she has only come across two other girls who have autism, but there may be many girls out there who go undiagnosed as they are able to mask the traits.
Although my youngest son who at the age of five is too young to know what autism means, he is aware that his 'brain gets cross'. He gets frustrated that people do not understand that things make him angry if they are not done in a certain manner or if he is feeling hyper/hypo to a particular sense, but unless he is at home, he's unable to convey to people what is wrong and so bottles up his frustrations when he is at school.
What would my 'neurotypical' son like the world to know?
Siblings of ASD children need support and although we are lucky to have a siblings group in our area that our eldest son attends each month, he would benefit from being able to spend more time with siblings in the same situation as him and understand what it is like to live with a sibling who has ASD.
What would I as a mum of ASD children like the world to know?
The child you see may be very different from the child we see at home. A lot of ASD children use coping strategies to get through the school day then explode when they are back in the comfort of their own home. It is frustrating as a parent to hear 'we can't believe ... has meltdowns at home as we only see a happy, smiley child'.
Remember that a child with autism is one child and each child that has autism may behave in a different way. It is a spectrum for the reason that difficulties can range from being mild to very severe. No two 'neurotypical' children are the same and no one would question that, so why do people think they can stereotype all ASD children as having the same traits. They are all individual and special in their own way.
I wouldn't change anything about my children - all I would like to change is the way that others perceive them.