what does autism look like?

"One of the hardest things I face as the parent of a child on the spectrum is the well-meaning, SUPER hurtful things people say to me about my son. Whenever his autism comes up in conversation, I often times get comments like "but he looks so normal" or "but he's so sweet." Uh, thanks? Stop and think for a minute, what does Autism look like to you? Does it look like some significantly disfigured child? Does it look like a monster? Does it look like a hateful, hurtful, horrible person? To me, autism looks like Jericho. It looks like a blonde-haired, brown-eyed boy who loves the taste of bananas, but the texture makes him cry and scream. It looks like getting woken up in the morning to my son crawling into my bed to warm his icy feet on my belly and pat me a little harder than I'd like on my face, because he has to put his emotions into physical form, and a lot of times that involves varying degrees of hitting. It looks like one-sided conversations, because my 3-year-old has yet to find his voice. It looks like 15+ hours of therapy every week to help him get the proper amount of sensory input and behavioral training to be able to handle each day. It looks like a boy who LOVES new people, and will eagerly crawl into your lap or up into your arms to stroke your hair and face, because he hasn't found his voice yet, but he wants so desperately to meet you. It looks like violent tantrums when his input level isn't right, or he starts to feel big feelings, or something is out of place. It looks like having to teach my younger son how to stay safe and learn to escape when he needs to, because sometimes big brother gets unintentionally dangerous. It looks like a lot of different things. Some of those things are beautiful. They're these inexplicably wonderful moments that only come to us because of Jericho's autism. Some of those things are stressful and heartbreaking. Some are scary. Some bring us hope. Some bring us to our knees. The point is, none of those things look like some disfigured, hateful monster. They look like Jericho. Autism looks like Jericho."

Written by Madeline, amazing mother.

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