Essentially the idea is that today (8 July 2012) families are being asked to do #AMileForAutism. The idea being that people think about the impact of autism. Families who have a relative on the autism spectrum and people who are themselves, on the spectrum have made contributions to a blog post which can be found on Charlotte’s blog.
My 11-year-old, who is on the spectrum asked me ‘what’s the point of walking a mile?’ ‘What has that got to do with having asperger’s?’
In literal terms it has absolutely nothing to do with autism, but this question illustrates the point beautifully. It is about a few people writing about, talking about and sharing what autism means to them and may be just a few more people might read some of our posts and have a little bit more understanding of autism and its impact and in particular the impact that lack of understanding has on the lives of autistic people and their families.
So, to go back to my Son’s question. One of the characteristics of autism is the tendency to see things in a concrete, literal way. Often it is hard for people on the autism spectrum to understand Irony, Sarcasm, similes and metaphors. They tell it how it is, there are no grey areas. So for my Son the idea of walking #AMileForAutism is a bit daft. “Why can’t you just tell people about it?”. His view would be that all us NT (neurotypical / non-autistic) people are slightly daft to think that doing #AMileForAutism is of any use at all. His other view would probably be “Why do we need to tell them?”. “Why do they need to know?”. Because, at the end of the day everyone is different and we all have something to offer, we all need help and support with some things and we all have something to give.
Sadly people do need to know because many people, including professionals such as teachers, social workers and medical staff are still all to keen to assume that a child’s behaviour is the result of bad parenting or that someone is being rude because they don’t look when people speak to them or that they don’t have a sense of humour because sarcasm just isn’t funny. People don’t know that actually loud noises and some types of fabric can hurt some people. Some noises like the hum of flourescent lights may be unnoticeable to most people but for some people on the autism spectrum these noises can be heard all the time and are distracting and confusing.
I cannot explain autism in all its many facets or even in all the ways it affects us as a family. I will never be able to do that, because it is who my Son is and most people would never feel that they have to explain how the characteristics of their child affect the way they live. Please just have a little thought today or this week and in the future about what autism is. Afterall it affects as many as 1 in every 88 people. – And that’s a lot of people!
So please join us by sharing this post and others with the #AMileForAutism, have a think, walk a mile, tell others why you are doing it. It would mean so much if we knew that a few more people might learn just a little bit more about the autism spectrum.
Thank you for reading and please visit Charlotte’s blog
She would love to have your comments and hear your stories and see your pictures.