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10 things your autistic child would want you to know: Part I

Autism is a complex disorder that renders its sufferers with problems in sensory processing, speech/language development, social interaction skills and emotional areas. Many children with autism are incapable of fluent speech, causing difficulties in communication. Each child has his/her unique set of needs, but there are also general things that most children with autism do share. Below is a list of things that every child with autism wishes his/her parents to know:

1. I am still a child: My autism does not define me, rather, it is just a part of me. Would you be happy if people thought of you as just one thing?  Like any other kid, I still have thoughts, feelings, ideas, and talents. Just because I have a disorder does not mean I am useless. I am more than meets the eye. Do not think me any less than other children without the disorder. I am still developing and growing, so do not give up on me.


2. I have sensory problems: Every sensory stimulus may overwhelm me because I am more sensitive than other children. You may not notice things such lights shining, water dripping, or people walking by, but I do. Every sound, smell, touch, taste, sight can be very painful for me. My environment is not a friendly one because I am constantly bombarded by stimuli. Sometimes I may appear withdrawn or belligerent because I cannot handle the stimuli overload.  It is not because I am trying to be mean, but because it’s too much for me to handle.   


3. I can’t, not I won’t: Sometimes I really do want to follow the instructions that you give me, but I simply cannot understand you. If you call me from across the room, everything becomes gibberish to me and I feel frustrated. You will have to come over to me and get my attention before you speak to me. If you can put your instructions in simple, concrete words, I will be better able to do what you want me to do.


4. I have trouble understanding latent messages: I interpret language literally – that means that I have difficulty understanding indirect references and secondary meanings. Therefore, please do not tell me to “take it easy” when you want me to stop running. Tell me everything in concrete terms or else I will not be able to comprehend.

Your child relies on you to support and help them. Although it may be difficult, dealing with a child with autism can be manageable. If you live in the Edmonton area and would like us to facilitate a treatment plan that caters to your child’s specific needs, please contact us. We would be happy to help.

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