April is Autism Awareness Month, and April 2 was World Autism Awareness Day. While an autism diagnosis is generally viewed as something to fear, many autistics can be high-functioning, affectionate, and remarkable. We asked our community members to share their experiences and recognize someone they know with autism. Here’s what some of them had to say:
My six-year-old son has Autism. He is such an amazing and endearing little boy who tries very hard in school and is doing extremely well this year. Kindergarten…he has amazed the teachers with what he knows.
One thing that is very unique about him is he is very affectionate towards others, which is not common among autistics. He loves hugs and loves to be cuddled. When he was a baby, he spent so much time in my arms right next to me for most the day and night and I think that has helped bring out his affectionate side as a little boy.
He loves trains, cars, anything with wheels. He has his oddities like rubbing his hands together or rubbing his head and he loves pants! Pants are like a security blanket to him. He cuddles with them at night.
Most important of all, I am VERY PROUD to be his mother! He is my life; without him I do not know how I could go on. He is a very special boy to us and brings so much joy and laughter to our family. I never regret anything about him or his diagnosis. It is unfortunate that he has the diagnosis of autism but we as parents are CONFIDENT that he WILL achieve his goals. We will always be beside him to support in whatever he wants to do in life.
Our little boy and other little boys and girls with autism are a gift to this world! We must support them and encourage them in all they do. I believe each and every person (young and old) with autism contributes something special to the world despite the challenges they face. We must lift them up and let them know they are loved and appreciated each and every day!
My wonderful friend J has Asperger’s syndrome. He knows what it’s like to be subject to prejudice and unfairness, and he’s made it his life’s mission to never do that to anyone around him. Plus he’s a helluva mechanic and one of a very few people on the planet I’ll trust with my car.
My other friend J (different name, same initial) probably has Asperger’s syndrome, and his sister A definitely does. They’re both musical geniuses; they both sing, and J is a classically trained pianist.
My little basically-niece, age 4, has developmental delays that may or may not put her on the spectrum. One of the things I’m proudest of in my life is that she has chosen me as one of the people she trusts enough to come to with her feelings.
My best friend from high school’s five-year-old son has PDD-NOS. The unique thing about him is his rapier wit. The kid is hilarious, just like his parents, who are both kooks in the best possible way.
Many of the clients I have worked with are on the spectrum, and to protect their confidentiality, all I can say about them is that they are awesome.
And although he’s passed many years ago, my dad — had good diagnostic screenings existed back then — very likely had Asperger’s syndrome. He gave me his love of and talent for music, and he threw himself into supporting my love of and talent for writing. And I think Asperger’s made him a better dad to me, because while my mom would say things that pretty much any parent says out of anger when I disobeyed (“you’re naughty, you’re bad, you’re a brat, get out of my face”), my dad recognized and accepted and understood that I needed reassurance of the difference between me and my actions. He would actually say out loud to me things like, “I love you, I don’t love what you did. You’re so much better than what you did.” Because my dad was a literal person, he — unlike my mom and unlike many others — never questioned or belittled my need for those literal words.
My 4-year-old grandson is autistic; he will be 5 on the 25th! He was also born with both speech and motor apraxia. He is a very happy little man and makes everyone around him happy too! Sign is his main language and his little “girlfriend” is the only one he signs at his heart. He has taught all of us a lot.
Do you know someone with autism? How have they touched your life? Share your stories in the comments below or in our Autism Support community.