Autism Acceptance Day 2017

Helping people with disabilities has always been a passion of mine. I’ve worked with children with various disabilities, but the ones with autism always stole a piece of my heart. I felt as if I saw a little bit of me inside them. Little did I know the reason I felt so connected.

 

I have autism.

 

I’ve been hospitalized 11 times in the last six years for mental health reasons. Depression and anxiety was always my diagnosis until my hospitalization in my freshman year- and only year- in college.

 

The psychiatrist said that he noticed some signs of Asperger’s Syndrome and suggested I got tested. Over winter break, I went to a testing psychologist who had my parents and I fill out questionnaire. I also had IQ tests done.

 

When I went to get the results, the psychologist said that I definitely was on the autism spectrum.

 

My parents said that the had wondered if I was on the spectrum for a while. They noted poor eye contact, difficulty with social cues and taking things too literally. After the questionnaire, it was revealed that I had many other symptoms.

 

I never suspected that I had autism. All of the people I had worked with or had seen on television were a lot different than me. I’m not nonverbal. I don’t wander away from my family. I am able to communicate.

 

However, I do have autism. There is no one way everybody expresses their symptoms. I have trouble with sarcasm, but another autistic person might be able to laugh along. I wring my hands and rock side to side when I am stressed, but someone else might flap their hands. Everybody in the world is different, and that is the same with autism.
As it is Autism Acceptance Day (April 2, 2017), it is important to know that there is no one face for autism. Everybody on the spectrum deserves to be accepted, no matter their ability. We might be easily spotted, or we might look like just another person in the world. In fact, that is what we are. Just another person in the world. No matter our ability, we are human, just like you.

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Laylon

This is a poem about a little developmentally disabled boy I worked with at the daycare. He has stolen my heart to this day.

I’d put you to bed

Give you a hug and always said

“Time to sleep” and rub your head

You’d get up, chase me instead

 

Around and around we would spin

You on the bikes never wanting to end

I’d get tired, but always give in

Over backwards I would bend

 

Lunchtime you would make a mess

My patience you’d try to test

But I’d never do anything less

You always brought out my best

 

You’d sit with me at story time

No one else’s lap was right

Then you’d stand, I’d say “sit tight”

Each time you put up a fight

 

You might be hard to help

A love that was hard to sell

But a deeper love was never felt

In a puddle my heart did melt

 

Yes, I left, but my thoughts stayed

In my heart you will remain

I think of you every day

Laylon, you will be okay