Some things about autism you may not know

While shows like Love on the Spectrum and Atypical are helping reach more people and giving a different picture on autism, it is called autism spectrum for a reason.

Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, presents differently in each and every person affected, from their social interaction to their communication skills to their behaviors. Every child with autism is different, each with his or her own sets of abilities, his or her own preferences.

If you’re here, you may already know a lot about autism, or you may be new to it and just want to learn more. The following are some things that parents of kids with autism have reported they wish people knew.

Autism isn’t always visibly identifiable.

This means you can’t necessarily “see” autism. Sometimes, people assume that kids with autism have facial features or habits that are “telltale signs” of their autism, but that’s simply not true. In fact, you may have already met lots of kids (and adults) with autism and never even knew it!

Kids with autism don’t behave like other kids with autism. 

Many, many parents of kids with autism will tell you that if you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism.

Every child you meet will be different, neurotypical or neurodivergent. Some neurotypical kids will be talkative; others will be more reserved. Some neurodivergent kids will be less affectionate; some neurodivergent kids love hugs.

No two kids, autistic or not, are ever the same.

Nonverbal kids have lots of ideas, opinions, thoughts, and feelings.

It’s a misconception that just because a child is nonverbal, it means they must not think anything. That could not be further from the truth! Some autistic kids are nonverbal, that’s true, but that means they have other ways to communicate, like signing or typing.

Autistic children have feelings.

It’s also a common misconception that autistic people have no feelings because they don’t express them the way neurotypical children or adults do. It’s important to remember that even though the reaction or verbal response to a circumstance might be different, it doesn’t mean it’s not felt with as much depth as a neurotypical person might experience.

Autistic parents are not to be pitied. 

Many autistic parents feel as though they’re looked upon with pity or sadness when they share that they have a child with autism. There’s no need for that, because autistic kids are wonderful and special and have so much to contribute. Having autism or parenting somebody with autism is not something to be ashamed of – it’s something to celebrate.

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