10 Things Every Autistic Child Wishes Adults Knew

Many children with autism demonstrate that they can manage, in an alternative way, many of the more complex aspects of their condition. Ellen Notbohm, writer and mother of a child with autism, in the book "10 things every child with autism would like you to know" puts herself in the shoes of those who suffer from this disorder, imagining that they are the ones to suggest to adults the "10 essential things to keep in mind.

10 Things Every Autistic Child Wishes Adults knew

imagines that it is the autistic children themselves who tell adults the "10 things" that are essential for understanding the behavior of a person with autism. Here's what they are:

1. I am a child

My autism is part of who I am, but it's not all who I am. Are you overweight, short-sighted or clumsy? Maybe these are the first things I notice about you, but in reality you are more than that, aren't you? You are a person with thoughts, feelings, preferences, ideas, dreams. Because you're an adult, you have control over how you define yourself. If you want to make one feature stand out above all others, you can. I, who am a child, still don't know who I am.

2. My senses are out of sync

The normal flow of sights, sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations, which you probably don't even notice, is downright painful to me . I often have the impression that the environment is hostile to me. I might seem isolated or aggressive or mean to you, but I'm just trying to defend myself. My hearing is very acute. My sense of smell may be hypersensitive and my eyes are bombarded. Unfortunately, my brain can't filter all the inputs and I go haywire.

3. Distinguish between what I don't want to do (I choose not to do) and I can't do (I am unable)

I listen to you when you give me instructions, but I don't understand you. When you call me from across the room I hear: «*&^%$#@, Luca. #$%^*&^%$&*». Rather, come close to me, draw my attention and speak in simple words: "Luca, put the book back on the desk.

It's time to eat". So it's easier for me to obey.

4. I am a concrete thinker. I take the language literally

When you say, "It's a wolfish time," I expect a wild animal to appear at any moment. Tell me instead: "It's raining a lot and it's cold." Puns , idioms, nuances, innuendos, sarcasm, metaphors have no effect on me.

5. Pay attention to all the ways I try to communicate

It's hard for me to tell you what I need if I can't describe my feelings. Pay attention to my body language, my tendency to withdraw or fidget, or other signs that something is wrong. It's all there to interpret.

6. Show Me! I have a visual thought

I need to see something to learn it , because words spoken to me soon fade away. Show me how to do something over and over instead of just telling me. With lots of patient practice, I can learn. Visual aids create a painless transition between activities and help me manage my time and meet your expectations.

7. Focus and work on what I can do, rather than what I can't do

Like any other person, I can't learn anything in an environment where I'm always weighed down by the fact that I'm not good and I'm not doing well. Look for strengths in me and you will find them: for all things there is more than one right way to do it.

8. Help me in social interactions

It might seem to you that I don't want to play with other kids at the park, but I'm just not able to strike up a conversation or join in their games. Teach me how: I can give my best in structured play activities. I'm not able to read other people's facial expressions, body language or emotions, so train me. If I laugh when a little girl falls down a slide , it's not because I think it's funny, it's because I don't know what to say.

Help me ask her, "Did you hurt yourself?"

9. Identify what triggers my seizures

The outbursts of anger and emotional meltdowns are much more terrible for me than for you. If they occur, it is because one or more of my senses has gone on overload or because I have been pushed far beyond the limits of my social capabilities . Keep a diary in which you write down times, people, environments, activities: a recurring pattern could emerge. My behavior could also have a physical cause. You look for the signs, because I may not be able to tell you about them.

10. Love me unconditionally

Stop thinking about what could have been if I hadn't been autistic. You didn't meet every expectation your parents had for you either, I didn't choose to have autism. Without your support, my opportunities to grow and become independent are slim. But with your help, the chances are better than you think. We must have a lot of patience. Love me for who I am and let's see where we can go.

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