Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Understanding a Young Autistic Child

Philip answers a question from a mother who has a son with a recent autism diagnosis.

Hello Philip. I have a 3 and a half yr old son and he was diagnosed with autism before he was 3. I’m having a hard time; really hard because he never listens to me. I don’t know if he understands or is just not paying attention. Sometimes he responds but most of the time he ignores me. He used to recite ABC's and numbers but now he says nothing. At an early age, did you act like that too? I'm in need of understanding his behavior. And I know no one around me with this kind of case on their children.  Thank you for creating this page. 
Best regards,
Ms. J

Dear Ms. J, 
I am an Autistic since birth. Understand our brains are not neurotypical. Not looking or talking does not mean not thinking. All people need love and understanding even when they can't express themselves. I can try to understand you to see your side in this. I know you are worried. Autism is different. People make life difficult for your son to fit in. Moms want to fix everything. My mom wants me to not make mistakes but I make a lot. I can learn from mistakes. You can try to understand your son is learning. No one needs to baby him. My advice is to treat him at his age.  No matter what, please veer him toward the normal world as much as possible. He each day learns from being exposed to many experiences. Listening to people’s words amounts to many momentous memories.  Watch what you say around him. Make sure you talk about nice things. No one should have to hear about their deficits without also hearing about their strengths. 

I was like your son when I was younger. I was always listening but not always responding in a way people understood. This was because my body would not follow my mind’s directions. There are moments my body could obey better but it is not consistent all the time. When I was younger, I was able to talk better with my mouth. I had to put my learning at the mercy of ABA to make me talk like a neurotypical person. I was only able to speak as I was trained to talk through repetition. I could not express what I really wanted to say. Popular therapies like ABA and speech could not help me truly communicate because they lack presumption of intelligence. No Autistic wants to be made to feel inferior.  I am finally able to tell my true thoughts by typing. I hope you give your son the opportunity to be himself as Autistic and make his life better by accommodating his challenges in fitting into a neurotypical world.



These are some of Philip's previous posts which explain the following (click to read):

Philip supporting his brother at a soccer game

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