Autism Awareness – U is for Unique

Have you ever looked at someone at first glance and judged without really knowing why they are behaving a certain way?
This leads me to my next past for Autism Awareness Month.  In my “acronym” post, I shared some meanings for the letters in the word autism as they pertain to my family.  Today I am going to write a little more in depth on the letter U.  I wrote that U stands for unique because every child is different.  I find it is very common for people to bunch all kids with autism into one group of characteristics, when in reality, they are all such unique individuals.  We are all unique individuals!  One of my least favorite assumptions about children with autism is they aren’t affectionate and don’t like to be touched.  Okay, this is true for some kids, but remember I said that I am writing specifically about my family, my son?  I have to tell you that Cody is one of the most affectionate and loving kids with autism people you could ever meet.  He loves hugs and kisses and cuddling up on the couch!  I feel very blessed because I know this is not the case for so many people.  I couldn’t even imagine how it would feel if my own child didn’t want me to touch him, to give him affection.  My heart goes out to those that struggle with this on a daily basis. 
So, what should you take from this post?  What should you “get out of it?”  I’ll tell you what I hope gain from it and that’s understanding.  Understanding, so the next time you cross paths with someone who seems a little “different” or has “odd” behavior that you don’t move five feet away and try to avoid them.  Instead, look at them in the eye and say “hello.”  They may not notice or be aware(especially those with autism who often miss social cues from others), but the caregiver who is with them will notice and it will mean a lot.  I promise.

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