This edition of Hood Health 101 will celebrates National Autism Awareness Month
Happy National Autism Awareness Month! For this entire month, it would be so amazing if every person reading this article would take the time to get to know someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. I guarantee you that it will enrich your life in so many ways. Now, I could bog you down with the statistics of autism for days, but that wouldn’t do you any good. There are already other sites and people doing that. I want you to understand the beauty in it and remove the stigmas that so many of us have surrounding autism.
In activities that many of us take for granted, individuals with autism struggle with them daily. Whether it’s the way we communicate, process information, or act at social events, for individuals with ASD, it provides its fair share of challenges. Not to mention the repetitive or restricted behavioral patterns that tend to develop with ASD. I am a mother with multiple children who are on the autism spectrum, so I understand the challenges as they have been presented to me. I also understand that in every situation many lessons can be learned if you look at things from a different angle.
What My ASD Children Have Taught Me:
- Embrace uniqueness: My children do not fit into any cookie cutter kid mold. They are different and unafraid for you to know that they are different. It’s inspiring in a world where everyone tries to fit in. Support them in their uniqueness as because it will be the best foundation that you could ever give them.
- Consistent time and attention: Given to anything yields great results. Most of the time as adults we lack success because we do not stick with things long enough to reach a successful point. Nor, do we necessarily understand the degree of focus that it takes to create the life that we want.
- Be a hugger: We could all use more hugs right? My children will hug you all day long if you let them. Sometimes it’s the only thing that will calm on of my children down during bad emotional meltdowns. This has taught me a lot coming from a family that is not very emotionally affectionate at all.
- Be more emotionally sensitive: One of my children’s emotional makeup is super sensitive. This has put me in a position to have to embrace my sensitivity more in order to show her how to maneuver through her own emotions.
- Be in solitude: Sometimes the best time that you can spend is time alone with yourself. This is when and where you can become more connected with yourself.
I love the lessons that I have learned from my children because in many ways, they have motivated and inspired me to reach beyond the comfort of my boundaries. I have learned through mistakes, mishaps, and misunderstandings but we have all grown closer. This week I asked individuals in my social media networks to send in tips on how to deal with individuals with ASD. I appreciate all of the responses and I have selected the most common tips
3 Tips For Dealing With Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders:
- Be patient: If you think that any experience is frustrating for you, imagine how much more frustrating it must be for the other person. We have to remember that things are not being done to purposely frustrate you. They’re being done to the best ability of the person who has an ASD.
- Do Not Patronize Anyone: Individuals with ASD are intelligent. There are some individuals that have additional conditions with ASD that cause intellectual disabilities, but this is not indicative of everyone who is on the spectrum. No matter what you should not be demeaning to anyone. It is always a rule of thumb to treat and speak to people with respect and common courtesy.
- Do Not Make It About You: What you have to go through to make life work with individuals on the spectrum has nothing to do with them. They do not need constant reminders of how they are different from others. They do not need to feel more isolated and alone than they may already feel.
There are so many things that naturally differentiate one person from another. I look autism like just another thing that makes us beautifully different. I know that it is more serious than that, but I don’t choose to focus on the difficult moments. There have been more moments of joy and endless smiles than I can count that has made this journey amazingly beautiful. All month I will be posting moments from my life with my aspie kids and welcome you to share your moments as well.
– Nakeasha Johnson (@NakeashaJ)