A while ago I wrote a post on Facebook about a lady staring at my autistic daughter in a supermarket.
She was really staring, with a look of confusion, and fear. This got me thinking about why people might stare, and why an autistic person may appear ‘different’, or even, ‘odd’. It got me thinking about why we need to educate and inform others about autism, and make them realise that it is part of everyday life, and not something to be feared. It got me thinking about the need for others to be more understanding and kind.
I used the word, “normal” in my post when referring to my daughter’s behaviours. This is because they are, “normal” to us. But not to others.
It’s not all about not being able to communicate.
Or not being able to socialise.
It’s about having a routine, that cannot be broken.
It’s about fearing change and spontaneity
It’s about sensory processing difficulties
It’s about auditory processing difficulties
It’s about poor fine and gross motor skills
It’s about crippling anxiety
It’s about so much more than what the outside world sees.
It’s about having amazing resilience
It’s about having bravery beyond belief
It’s about having an amazing memory
It’s about making huge steps, which may be tiny milestones to others
It’s about having the best sense of humour
It’s about being happy amidst it all
It’s about being yourself
I would not change my daughter.
But I would change the stares.
I would change the sniggers.
I would change the thoughtless comments.
I would change why life has to be so bloody hard for my daughter.
I would change ‘the system’.
I would change the constant battle of fighting for support and help for my daughter.
But I would never change you, Orla, my special girl.