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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Harri is Autistic.

Coming to terms with your childs ASD diagnosis is only one battle of several to navigate. Choosing a treament method, affording the treatment, talking to friends and family about the diagnosis, coming up against others denial and ignorance are just a few of the many challenges.
Some people choose not to tell the parents of their childs peers for fear they will withdraw their children from play dates. This does happen. I suppose there is concern that the ASD child may harm or teach their 'normal' child odd behaviours. This is highly unlikely, but misunderstanding of autism leads to all sorts of false assumptions.

I decided when in social situations with Harri to inform other parents of his diagnosis. Most people would not pick him out as all that different from any other 2 year old. However I want people to understand his language delay and echolalia are not symptoms of intellectual slowness. I want them to know he is not being rude when he ignores them despite calling his name. That his lack of direct eye contact is not lack of engagement. I want to give people the heads up, that they are dealing with a little boy who sees the world very differently yet is still an emotional being. Engagement may be hard to garner but it's a real buzz when you get it.

I would like people to come away from their time with Harri with the knowledge that today they had contact with an Autistic person. I want friends and family to embrace the fact they now love a person with ASD. Autism is now in their lives, as much as it is in mine. This enigmatic disorder is no longer an abstract and alien experience. I hope my friends and family talk about Harri's ASD to their friends and family. If they do they will probably be surprised to find they know someone else who has ASD in their family. The more people talk about Autism the less social fear and ignorance. This can only be a good thing for Harri, and all the other beautiful little ASD kids out there.

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