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My 9-Year-Old's Perspective on Autism

My son wanted to tell people his thoughts on being an autistic child, so I typed as he spoke. This is entirely his work and his own opinions.

Do you mind having autism?

No. It’s kind of difficult at times, but to sum it up, sometimes yes and sometimes no. Sometimes symptoms of it are annoying, but some are helpful and make me happy.

Did you always know you had autism?

Of course as a baby I didn’t know, and before I knew autism was a thing, but I don’t remember.

What is tough about being autistic?

Depending on who you are, some people may have certain fears because of autism, or sometimes you may have trouble with coordination, or writing or thinking. All of these can have to do with autism, but not everyone has all of those symptoms. Some people may have none of the things I listed. Imagine a pool, but every centimeter of water has been replaced with a different symptom. You only get one minute in the pool, so you’re not going to be able to swim in all of it in the one minute you have, it will take some adjusting to get used to the temperature and you don’t get to go in all of it.

What are you good at because of your autism?

My autism doesn’t stop my body from functioning properly. It’s just different — you could be the best of the best at one genre of video games, even if you’re not the best at another one. You may not be good at filing forms but you may be really good at being a builder or a postman or a marine biologist or something.

Why do you think you are autistic?

Brains are wired differently. It’s like trying to wire up a TV or something. There are many different orders and ways you can do it, and you can plug in so many things, and by random chance when you’re born your brain can have different wiring to other people’s.

How can parents help their autistic children?

One of the biggest and most common signs of autism is being pushed to the edge very, very easily. For example, shout at me once and I’ll cry. So what parents can do to help is not yell at their kids more in order to try and make them get used to it. Instead, you should try to get yourself in an attitude where you shout less. And when you do, you have to act fast, as fast as possible, because if you don’t, then he’s going to break into tears, probably run away to his room and lock himself away and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Parents listen! Do not try and cure it! That’s basically asking for people to think you’re stupid. One, it will probably just make the problem worse because it will make them unhappy. Two, autism is because your brain is wired differently, are you seriously going to open a hole in their head, grab their brain out and replace it with a non-autistic brain? Because that’s probably the only way you’re going to cure it.

How can other kids support their friends?

Be calm and slow. Take your time to get to know them.

Are there any misconceptions you would like to clear up?

Autism is a thing that can be cured — wrong!

Autism makes you stupid — wrong!

Everyone with autism is the same — wrong!

We all have a short attention span — wrong! (Well, most of us).

Since a lot of autistic people have sensory issues, can you tell us anything about that?

Sensory things is like you don’t like the feel or smell or taste of certain things. You can use things like colored lights, weighted blankets and things that feel nice to touch to help feel better.

If you have a question or want me to go into a bit more detail about something, then ask in the comments and I’ll try to respond as
best as I can.

Originally published: March 19, 2018
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