• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”
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Do you know what happens to autistic children?

children-in-yardThey become autistic adults; adults who grow-up, work (many jobs sometimes), get married, and have children of their own. Yes—you read correctly. We GET MARRIED, and often HAVE CHILDREN.

Do not misunderstand me; I do not presume to say that every single autistic child will marry, have children, and have a career. Autism is indeed a spectrum, and for some these things may remain out of reach. But what has been disturbing to me over the past year or so is the blanket statements and thoughts by parents, and loved ones that their children will remain dependent on them; that their children will not have normal lives; that their children will not marry and have children of their own.

While it may be true for some, there are so many of us out here that it is not true for. Was/Is it easy? NO, but is it for anyone with or without autism? Don’t limit us, our abilities, our strengths, our gifts, or our capacity to love. Given the chance we will do things to amaze and awe you.

It is true that many of us will struggle for a lifetime in areas that you may glide through with ease, but there are things that we can do, that you would struggle to contemplate. We may not be able to maintain a schedule of housekeeping, balance a budget regularity, or stay in the same job for very long—but we may be able to write a novel in record time, program a computer with little training, or recreate a recipe by taking one taste. We may be able to play music by ear, sing with perfect pitch, or create a masterpiece with paint.

Help us find our talents—everyone has them, even us. Cultivate our interests, and most of all let us know that we are just fine exactly the way we are! Don’t try to change us to fit into this world—change the world to fit into ours.

So my parting words for this last official day of Autism Awareness Month, I encourage you to teach your child to forget the sky, and reach for the stars.

Do not tell me the sky is the limit; we have left footprints on the moon!

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Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.