On Your Beautiful Child Radio I have asked many guests “what does autism mean to you,” There were many answers. My answer is FREEDOM. Today the official Autism Awareness Day.  I realize how deeply this answer rings true.    Because of autism, I have a work schedule I create, I have traveled and connected with amazing families, I have purpose and passion in my life, I have permission to create and just be.

My first student (with autism)  was non-verbal and had many “stimming” repetitive behaviors and echolalia.  I began to see a young boy do whatever he needed and wanted to do to make himself happy. He was not offfected by the judgements  of others. He did not follow what was “appropriate.” He was also not impressed with my cool toys, my happy smile or my eagerness to work with him. He could not naturally be re-directed or manipulated to do what “typical” children were doing. He loved Thomas the train DVD boxes.  I’ve worked with many children and I observe their methods of communicating and expressing  themselves. This includes flapping their arms, spinning, continuous jumping, repeating songs, commercials, etc.  I joined them, I observed them, I’ve loved them. They showed me the importance of communication without words, and they showed me how to “be” without judgement. These children do not comment if my hair is not washed, if I have make up on, or if I’m wearing the same jeans twice in a row.  They do not pay attention unless they want to, and my verbal young friends on the spectrum do not speak unless its meaningful. They are distracted by the cool things in life, mostly sensory oriented. Why is it “normal” to ignore these things?  Typical children are taught to compare and compete with each other. They are put under pressure to take tests and be judged on the outcome.

Children on the autism spectrum are given space to grow at their own pace. There is no forcing them to do anything.  I have taken this to heart. I have learned to accept my processes, even if at some point I thought they were wrong or not good enough.  These children have healed me of judging myself, of comparing myself to other women, they have shown me the importance of silence. They have given me space to create. So many children on the autism spectrum have creative gifts, they are amazing artists, singers, and creatives. They have gifts, and they have made me shine the line on my own gifts.

 

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There are many therapies and schools of thought on “what works” to “teach” children on the autism spectrum. What works for one child does not work for all children. Why does the rest of the “typical” world believe it does. Do you like to be cared for exactly like someone else?  Do you work to try to be exactly like anyone else?  Watching women who try to be the same as celebrities is never-ending, and I see it as sad. It’s based on the feeling of not being perfect or enough, or likable.

I am so lucky to have so many individuals with autism in my life. I see them as healers, as the most real down to earth people I know. I know if everyone tuned in to their ways, the world would be a different place.  I am SO GRATEFUL for all the children in my life. I am grateful for all the Mothers who trust me with their children.

Take action this autism awareness month. We make it easy…Here is one way…

https://www.facebook.com/events/615089815246027/

Blessings,

Shane

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