The hidden side of Autism that people are unaware of:
People who don’t have or care for a child with autism, have a completely different picture of an autistic child than ones who actually care for one. These people are mostly exposed to autistic children through feel-good media stories. Stories such as an autistic child who gets to be a manager of a high school basketball team, a boy going to prom with an autistic girl, etc. However, these media stories don’t make everyone aware of the realities of an autistic child and how autism makes them do things that might not always be sweet or innocent. This is the hidden side of autism that very few people are aware of and mistake as just a nuisance.
The hidden side of Autism no one talks about:
There is a different side to autism that only people caring for one are aware of. A recent article in the Huffington Post by Bonnie Zampino explores the hidden side of autism and how the general public might see some behaviors as a nuisance but in reality, it is completely normal. In fact, the article takes a look at a recent lawsuit against these behaviors of an autistic child which other families saw as an act of violence. The article gives a great perspective of an autistic child to the general public and makes them more aware. Here is an excerpt from the article.
Because for every boy with autism who manages his high school basketball team, there are 20 boys with autism who smear feces. And for every girl with autism who gets to be on the homecoming court, there are 30 girls with autism who pull out their hair and bite their arms until they bleed. And for every boy with autism who gets to go the prom, there are 50 boys with autism who hit and kick and bite and hurt other people.
This is the autism that no one talks about. This is the autism that no one wants to see.
We aren’t aware
As you can see, the media only projects feel-good stories and that is the image people have about autistic children. So when these people are exposed to the normal behaviors of autistic children, they see it as a nuisance and end up thinking it is the parent’s or caregivers’ fault. The article states clearly that people are just not aware of the hidden side of autism. This leads to a lot of wrong judgments about the autistic child as well as his/her parents or caregivers.
It also becomes troubling for parents with autistic children. They constantly have to explain to others the behaviors of their child. Caring for autistic child also isolates them from other parents as it prevents them from taking part in many different parent-child activities. A perfect example is given by Bonnie Zampino in the article.
Because I didn’t know what my son was going to do to other children, we stopped going to the park. We stopped going to the Mommy and Me class at the library. We started going to the grocery store at 6:00 a.m. when most people weren’t around. He didn’t go to daycare but had a sitter at home so he wouldn’t be around other kids in a daycare setting. I essentially isolated him in order to keep other people safe. Can you imagine what it’s like to be a mom and not be able to take your child to the park? Or have your child attend birthday parties? Or have play dates?
We aren’t aware.
Because of my need to isolate my son, I also isolated myself too. I watched from my window as other moms in the neighborhood sat in their camp chairs and chatted while their children played. I couldn’t join them because my son couldn’t be around the other kids. Once a mom asked if my son could come to their house and play with her son. Can you imagine what it was like to feel so excited and then feel so ashamed when, after explaining my son’s issues to her so she would be aware, that invitation was rescinded?
Being a parent of an autistic child can take a lot out and this excerpt makes you appreciate those parents who sacrifice a lot in order to care for their autistic child. What needs to happen is for the general public to be more aware of the realities of an autistic child. People need to understand that with a little care, autistic children can become great friends with typically functional children. Bonnie Zampino talks about learning things that trigger aggression and how to avoid them. A little effort from both sides can lead to lifelong friendships. It can also help parents of autistic children prevent isolation and enjoy life like everyone is entitled to.
Increased awareness will lead to increased understanding and increased acceptance. People will stop looking at certain behaviors as a public nuisance. There won’t be any need for a lawsuit; instead, parents will make the extra effort to accommodate autistic children. Best of all, more friends will be made!
Are you caring for or know someone who is caring for a child with autism? We at Disability Credit Canada can help you claim the tax credit and earn some financial relief. Call us for a free assessment.