Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Autism: An Innie or an Outie

One of the hardest things I run into is the difficulty of people who do not have children with Autism to understand children on the Spectrum. Just recently I even ran into a professional that said just because a child could look her in the eye the child did not have Autism.

As any parent of a child with an Autism Spectrum disorder can tell you, children and adults with Autism can, at times, look you in the eyes. It is just torture to try do it all the time and should not be expected. It is not necessarily even a skill that should be high on the list to learn in some people’s lives.

I also run into people on a regular basis, that just do not believe their child with Aspergers has Autism. I will probably upset many parents with these comments. Just because Aspergers has some different characteristics or responds to different techniques they believe their child is better or more elite.

Since I have daughters with both Autism and Aspergers I get to compare the two on a regular basis. Children with Autism usually do not like to look at people. They like things quiet and ordered.

A child with Autism may not like people touching her stuff. They may or may not look you in the eyes at any time. Many children with Autism have difficulty getting what they want or need across to another person.

A child with Aspergers is the same but different. They like life busier, but may respond better to structure. My daughter with Aspergers likes things jumbled and bright. Many children with Aspergers will routinely look you in the eyes, unless they are stressed.

If a child with Aspergers is stressed they like to keep moving and be difficult to get to focus. Children with Aspergers can overwhelm everyone with words. They are trying to communicate what they want or need so hard that it gets lost in the words.

When I watch my daughters they remind me of the difference between an ‘innie’ and an ‘outie’. They are both a belly button. Depending on which one you see first you may not realize they are the same thing. In isolation they look drastically different. But…they are, sort of, opposites.

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