Monday, April 2, 2012

World Autism Awareness Day

I've been reading this book:

The first time I ever heard of Autism was when I was nine or ten and reading The Baby-Sitters' Club. They had an autistic child that they watched sometimes. I don't know why, but I find brain stuff fascinating. I have dyslexia. A lot of people think they know what that means - that I can't spell and I hate to read. Neither of those things are true. Do you know what synesthesia is? It's a mix-up of the senses. People see letters or numbers in color, they taste or see sounds. Now, do you know what autism is? It's NOT mental retardation, like so many people think. It's a sensory processing disorder. This book is written by a fifteen-year-old girl and her father. A severely autistic girl whose parents thought she was cognitively undeveloped. They thought she didn't understand them, that she couldn't read, that she didn't absorb what was going on around her. For twelve years. This amazing girl, Carly Fleischmann, is going to change the way autism is viewed around the world.

My mom would say "Why do you care? How does this affect you?" The truth? I suppose it doesn't. Not directly. I don't know anyone with autism. Maybe I never will. But there is a LARGE population of children with autism where I live and I have a five-year-old, so it's likely that I will meet children on the spectrum somewhere and wouldn't it be nice if I knew how to treat them? And you know what? This book is written by Carly's father, but also BY CARLY. Her own words. Her own thoughts. How it FEELS to have autism. Something the world has been struggling for years to understand. Decades. The physical sensations, why it's difficult to make eye contact, what stimming is, the truth behind behavioral outbursts. Why wouldn't I want to read this book? I'm nearly done and I LOVE it. I can't wait to read it again. 

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