By Kodey Toney
Take A Look At My Life
I was reading through Facebook the other day and found a list that I thought would be interesting. I'm always trying to find information from people with autism because they know better than anyone what it's like to live with autism. With that being said I would like to share "17 Wishes From An Adult With Autism" by Kerry Magro. I'm going to throw in my two cents worth. I cut it down to 15 for space, but I think it’s a good look into the life and mind of someone on the spectrum.
1. "I wish acceptance was easier to come by." I've always said that we now have the autism awareness down, we have to work for the acceptance. This is why inclusion in schools and the communities is so important.
2. "I wish loving one another was always on our minds." What a concept, and not just for children with disabilities. It's so simple, yet it's so difficult.
3. "I wish early diagnosis remains a high priority." Every time I speak to groups around the area I make sure to mention that early intervention is the key to a child's success. If you can get the proper tools, therapies and treatments, then your child has a better chance at a great future.
4. "I wish people would stop calling autism a disease." This is a touchy one, but one article I read stated that diseases are caused by bacteria or viruses, but disorders fall under birth defects or genetic disorders. I’m not sure on this one to be honest, but I would prefer it not be discussed unless you have regardless of its actual classification. If you’re not talking about using it to get services it’s not important.
5. "I wish that communication becomes easier for everyone with autism. Know that we’re trying." Behavior is communication. It they are having a hard time communicating they are going to get frustrated. It takes a little more to communicate with children on the spectrum, especially those who are non-verbal. They are trying to communicate. Are you listening?
6. “I wish that we find more treatments to enhance the lives of people with autism.” The treatments, as mentioned before, are the key to a good life. If you can help a person on the spectrum cope with sensory issues, motor skills, and communicate then you will help them with their future.
7. “I wish that insurance for autism will get passed in all 50 states.” This is something that has bothered me in the past. When talking with a local representative he explained that it’s a tough situation, and that it’s sad that insurance will pay for Viagra, but not for autism related services in many cases.
8. “I wish the government would understand the need for services for people with autism in schools.” What little is available is limited, and the schools are either unaware of the laws, or bound by financial restrictions to find ways not to provide them.
9. “I wish individuals with autism can one day live their lives independently.” This is what we wish for all children, on the spectrum or not. Like it or not, one day Jen and I are not going to be around and Konner is going to have to live on his own. That is the plan, and all of these other things that we are working on, classroom social issues, life skills, education, etc. are all steps toward that independence.
10. “I wish I was capable of helping more.” I found this one interesting. To me it doesn’t seem like Konner is concerned too much with helping, either around the house or otherwise. Not to say he doesn’t help if asked, but he doesn’t seem to like it when he is asked.
11. “I wish people would stop using the words “socially awkward” and “retard” in a negative way.” Some may remember my column on stopping the use of the “R” word, but it’s socially unacceptable and should be stopped.
12. “I wish for more awareness for all with disabilities. Those of us living with a disability are doing our very best.” One of the things I had to learn is that there are more disabilities out there than just autism. I lived in autism world for so long that I was surprised to find out that other disabilities have similar problems and issues as autism. The parents have the same obstacles as we do. We can all learn from each other and lean on each other.
13. “I wish for those who are on the spectrum and for those who love someone on the spectrum that you know we’re moving forward every single day.” I have to constantly step back and take a look at where we were this times last year, two years ago, and so on. It’s amazing where we’ve come from.
14. “I wish all of our voices could be heard.” I’m fortunate, and I know it, that Konner is verbal, but I always think about those who aren’t and just think that there’s some way to get them to communicate. I know they all have something to say.
15. “I wish everyone will follow the words of one of my favorite performers of all time, Michael Jackson, who sang in his song “Man in the Mirror”: If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.” Nothing will ever change if we don’t make it happen. If you’re waiting for someone to take the first step you need to look to yourself first.
I hope this helps you see into your child’s mind.