Sunday, April 17th, 2011
Every day throughout April–Autism Awareness Month–we will be featuring a different reader-submitted story about living with autism. Today’s story was written by Lou Tecpanecatl, father of Diego, 5, and author of the blog Our Life With Diego:
Imagine that you and your family are planning a trip, either for a few days or for a week. You may even be flying to your destination. What do you do to prepare the kids for their upcoming adventure? How about when your son or daughter is sick and has to visit the doctor? How do they feel about going to the doctor and then how well do they handle taking antibiotics? Suppose your child seems upset about something that happened in school that day. How would you go about discussing expectations or comforting them in any of these situations?
Now, imagine that your child is 4 or 5 years old and does not possess many basic concepts of speech. His or her language is mostly one- or two-word requests or responses without any conversational skills. In addition to the speech delay, there are extreme sensory issues that cause intense fear of physical exams at any doctor’s office. The child refuses to willfully take any medication and has to be held and have it administered by two adults, fighting the whole time. The fear of high pitched sounds is so pronounced that your child will not even enter a public restroom because there may be a hand dryer in there that will go off at any second. How will you be able to tell them that this visit to the doctor is just a simple check-up? These tests are not painful. No one is going to turn on that machine or vacuum cleaner. Those people are not going to touch you or ask you any questions. How do you feel about being able to comfort him now? A little apprehensive, I would imagine, maybe even a little confused. (more…)