Editor’s Note: Today is World Autism Awareness Day, so we have a special post to celebrate the wonders that people with this unique perspective bring to the world. Read more about autism in this month’s April ASHA Leader issue devoted to the topic, which includes articles on the importance of helping people with ASD predict what happens next and how to measure clients’ progress in social skills groups.
If you’ve had the good fortune of loving kids with autism, you’ve probably encountered a few unexpected lessons in life. In honor of National Autism Awareness Month and to express my gratitude for what my friends with autism spectrum disorder have taught me, I’d like to share my Top 10:
#10. In a world of too many gadgets and gizmos, a spinning top is pretty cool.
#9. Echolalia keeps my “over 40” brain sharp. I’ve learned to repeat, repeat, repeat.
#8. Parents with patience are the best teachers.
#7. Consistency is so comforting.
#6. Random objects can bring one kid a lot of joy. I’ve learned to appreciate road maps, bathroom signs and every single state’s license plates, to name just a few.
#5. Sometimes, carrying a favorite toy all day long just makes everything go better.
#4. Flapping really does feel good.
#3. The world needs more quirky.
#2. The first spontaneous “hug” is the best one of all.
And the #1 lesson I learned from my clients with autism?
#1. Love is when you take the time to know someone who sees the world differently than you.
What lessons have you learned from loving kids with autism? I’d love to know. Let’s start a list here to celebrate and raise awareness of all that the world can learn from these extraordinary, beautiful people.
Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, treats children, birth to teens, who have difficulty eating. She is the co-author of Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater: A Parent’s Handbook – A Stage by Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating (Oct. 2015), the author of Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids, and the producer of the award-winning kids’ CD Dancing in the Kitchen: Songs that Celebrate the Joy of Food! Potock’s two-day course on pediatric feeding is offered for ASHA CEUs. Melanie@mymunchbug.com