Sunday, May 3, 2015

Continuing the Dialogue: Questions from Classmates About Autism

During the month of April, Philip and I made a big effort to teach others about autism and clear up some misconceptions.  We showcased on the blog many writings from different Autistic people and their families from all around the world.  Philip wrote articles for Parents Magazine, Context with Lorna Dueck, and Disability in KidLit (click to see the articles).  Philip also had some of his articles and blog read in his homeroom and classes in which he has neurotypical classmates. Now there is dialogue back and forth as his classmates learn about him and ask him many great questions.  We are sharing on the blog to keep the momentum going from Autism Awareness Month.  -Lisa

Question from C in Philip's homeroom:
1) What is it like not being able to communicate with people?  2) What is it like having no control over your body?

Philip's responses:

1) I am better now that I can type. People who can't communicate are sad. I used to get angry mom could not make me talk. I made many imaginary friends. Not being able to talk is really frustrating. I think fast but my mouth can't say the words. I pass the time writing the thoughts in my mind. I am practicing what I would say. Peace came to me when I started to spell my thoughts. I am talking now (through typing) and it feels peaceful to know people can understand me.

2) Having little control of my body is maddening. I am always getting lost in outer space. I feel like there is no gravity. My body has little mass. I have to concentrate hard to move purposely and slowly. Even typing takes patience and precision. It is hard work for me.

Philip revised a previous blogpost about flapping and poor control over his body to give further insight on his movement and body control:


I love to flap my hands.  I flap to feel my body in space. No one goes through the trouble I have to feel my body well.  Dare to feel each moment floating weightless in space.  I am light and my movement is erratic without gravity making my movement steady. Each day I go crazy not knowing how my body will act.  Most people have portly muscle mass to feel their own weight.  I do not.  I often feel like a bird about to take flight and it makes me flap. I love the sensation of my hands flapping. My hands flap when I am happy. They flap when I am momentarily stressed. They also flap to music. Flapping is important to me. I flap like a bird to feel free from my body. My body is naughty. It acts on impulse too much. No one can discipline it. It has a mind of its own.  It makes messes. It acts like a jerk. My body feels tension from stress.  Many times I can't feel my body. I am unable to do many things people do without thinking. Lastly, my weary lament for my Autistic friends who can’t communicate kills my soul.  Living with autism is hard. I sometimes would like to try living without it but I can't. Living peacefully requires me to accept myself, autism included. I mean to make the most of what I have been given.  I have been given a strong mind. I have a mission from God. I am trying to educate the world about autism. No meaning comes from being negative about autism. My slavery to negative stereotypes is over. I am free peacefully pursuing my dreams. Moments are still very challenging but I know I can persevere and someday peacefully make a beautiful life for myself.

"Today try to make our lives better by understanding us and accepting us as we are.  Include us in your lives.  Talk to us even if we don't respond.  We are listening.  
I am storing up happy memories with every person's kindness."  

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