I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “oh I know someone with autism and they don’t do that or this, or act this way”. Let me tell you as a mama of 3 on the spectrum, this statement or ones similar make me want to scream. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who feels this way or wants to rip their hair out.
But, then I try and remember this person saying this may not understand or know much about autism. When you’ve met someone with autism, you’ve met one. They’re not all the same, react the same way or even behavior the same. Which can be hard for someone who doesn’t get this or who haven’t been around many with autism.
I know before I had children with this I didn’t know much about it. I knew of one family friend who’s son had it, and that was it. I had so much to learn myself when it came to this and my children being diagnosed with it.
I think it can be hard to wrap your head around because there are some tell-tale signs of autism that medical professions look for. Which is true, and that most will display, and in turns help them make the right diagnosis.
Even with my three who have forms of this, you can tell a difference. From my middle child, she didn’t even start to show signs until she was 9 or so. She didn’t line things up or have to have a schedule. There was no huge meltdowns or anything like that. She has Asperger’s. A mild, high-functioning form of autism. She’s very intelligent and has a high IQ.
Now my twins, they started showing signs earlier. They lost communication until they were 3. They both lined things up. One would flap his arms and the other didn’t. Both stopped looking at us in the eyes, they’ve relearned this skill. There are so many other things that were different. Meltdowns were super bad when they were little. Even now at 13, one can’t stand loud noises and the other doesn’t care.
I think it’s so important to remember that when you met someone on the spectrum, you’ve met one. Get to know them and learn about what that person is like, and don’t lump them all as the same.
Allyson is a published author, blogger, wife and mom to 4 kids. Three of her children are on the autism spectrum. She suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. On her blog you can find her writing about being an author, her faith and family. She resides in Missouri with her loving husband and four wonderful children, and three cats. She’s addicted to knitting and coffee.