Thursday, August 31, 2006

Autism Awareness

mom says....

The title of this post is not a new expression... in fact if you keep your eyes open you will probably see it on more cars than you ever thought possible. My best friend has a son, Lucas, who is autistic. He is an adorable, smart, interested, kind, gentle and GOOD 3.5 year old boy. Like most boys his age he loves his trains, his brother and sister and wants to be close to his mom and dad. In summation Lucas is a great kid.

I am not an expert on Autism but with Lucas's help and his mom's explanations I am learning about what life is like for autistic families. I have heard about special diets, health issues, behavioural traits, and the support system which exists for autism. I have also learned that not everyone in the world is lucky enough to have a teacher and a friend like Lucas. Not everyone understands that autistic kids may act a little different than other kids. They may not talk as much, or they may talk more... they may like playing alone, or they may love nothing more than being touched or hugged ... they may like a routine or they may need their space.... tonight i was reminded of how little people know about autism.

We went out to dinner tonight to a local family friendly restaurant. There were more kids than adults eating tonight.... kids running around and getting into this and that. Kids making a mess and kids sitting still. There was only one couple there who didn't have kids and I watched the woman as she watched Lucas. It should be said that Lucas was very well-behaved... he ate his fries and chicken fingers without incident. But he also explored the place, he walked around, he looked out the windows, he touched the empty tables... he was mobile, but he was good.

The woman who inspired this post clearly felt he should be sitting down and focused solely on his food ....I overheard her commentating on Lucas's wanderings and I couldn't help but think that she has no autism awareness. She didn't recognize nor appreciate what an amazing kid he is... she didn't understand that life is a bit different for him .. all she saw was a kid who couldn't sit still. I wish I could have sat down with this woman and explained why she shouldn't judge when she didn't have all the facts.

I am so thankful that through Lucas i have gained some autism awareness- I only wish others could be so lucky.

No comments: