Yes, I have actually been told that my 15 year old son does not look Autistic. My son Z has Asperger’s Syndrome (AKA – High Functioning Autism) & ADHD. How does an autistic person look?? Can you see Autism?? Do all people with autism look, act or speak the same way?? Every child/adult I have ever met that has some level of Autism is totally different from any other person with an Autism diagnosis. It is ridiculous to think that someone has to look a certain way to fit into what our society perceives should be mutually the same look for every other person with the same diagnosis. We are all humans. We are all different. It does not work that way.
It’s like saying some one doesn’t have diabetes just because they don’t look like they do.
There are so many levels of Autism. It is impossible to fit them all into one category with one single diagnosis that always presents with the same list of symptoms. Each and every one of those autistic people presents their Autism differently.
Every person with Asperger’s is different. It is mainly a social awkwardness that follows with a list of different quirks and differences from those within their same age group. My sons has most of the “Usual” symptoms of Asperger’s. But he also has a lot of quirks that aren’t on the list.
My son very rarely makes make eye contact. He doesn’t like being touched or hugged. He does not understand the give and take of conversation. Although he can do it with people he is very comfortable with within a very short time span & his return conversation contains very few words. Like talking on the phone for/with him is very difficult. You ask the questions. He answers. He does not continue on with the conversation on his own. My son prefers to be with small children and adults. He doesn’t have any peer age friends. He is just socially awkward especially with people he doesn’t know. Teachers are very tough for him because the do not understand that his brain thinks/works differently. He is also intimidated by teachers because most have been either impatient, some unkind and others act as though he doesn’t exist. If someone he doesn’t knows tries to communicate with him he usually replies with a one word automated answer. There is no truth or acknowledgment of what was actually asked in his reply. He just tries to get out of the conversation as fast as he can.
I wish all teachers had to learn about these special needs diagnoses (All of them, not just Autism) and realize these children learn differently. Maybe then they would have more patience and compassion for these kids. Yet they teach to every child as though they are all the same kind of learners. No you can’t see his disability but he can do great things given the proper teaching methods and patience. Instead as these kids get older, into the higher grades in school they just get ignored and passed through to the next grade. They older these kids get the harder it is for teachers to compromise their schedules, try to understand these students special needs & do not take the time to understand their different learning styles. Most lack the patience and understanding that these kids don’t do well with their “normal” teaching methods. It is infuriating as a parent. Special needs students deserve to be treated equally as important as any other non special needs student. But the special need students cost the districts more money so the least they can do for them is what you get. Special needs parents spend countless hours fighting and advocating to get the simplest of accommodations.
Yes, on the outside my son looks like any other 15 year old. It is not until you talk to him or spend time with him that you notice that he thinks/does things differently. He is usually the one standing on the outside of the crowd and pacing cause too many people make him uncomfortable. He is the one who tries to be invisible at school cause he doesn’t want anyone to talk to him. He is the one who just wants to go home because that is his comfort zone! When he gets overwhelmed he cries which is his form of a meltdown. When he gets excited he jumps a lot which is his form of stimming.
Z has been different from infancy. He never acted like other kids of his age throughout the years. He never played with other kids at play groups. Z thrives and relies on routine. Routine changes throw him off for a couple weeks. He still prefers to be by himself. His best friend, confidant and strong will is his younger brother who will advocate for him for anything, anytime & any day. As he has grown there have been difficult stages and great stages. Just like any child. He thinks in black and white. There is no gray area. He loves Legos. He loves video games. He loves to talk about Hockey & Star Wars.
He is smart, funny, unique, handsome and an awesome boy. My wish for him is that our society become more aware that there are these and many more invisible diagnosis’s that you may not know of, are able to see or understand. Please when you meet someone who is different show these very unique people kindness, acceptance, have patience with them and treat them with respect.
Do you know someone with Asperger’s??
Do they follow these traits??