An alphabet of unexpected words to express things about the world of autism.
A is for amazing. There are many autistic people that have amazing gifts and talents. Do you know that there is a guy out there in the world who is autistic who knows the name of thousand stars? And I am sure that you know there WAS autistic person out there that provided evidence for the automatic theory. And there are so many other amazing autistic people out there.
B is for because. Because your child has autism you think before you act. Because you went ahead and did something you thought at first you would not do, your child is better for experience.
C is for communicate. Did you know that there are special ways to get nonverbal autistic people to communicate? Have you seen those tablets that when you press a button, certain words are voiced? Have you ever sung a song so many times or read a story so many times that all of the sudden, they are singing it or saying words from the story too?
D is for Dream. Dream about all the possibilities. Even if they may seem impossible. For you never know . One day, they may be possible. And even if your dreams never come true, the act of dreaming might change your probably nots to maybes. Maybes can keep you going on those dreary days. And when there a lot of maybes, sometimes, there is a dream come true.
E is for everyone. Everyone will at some point in their life, come to meet someone with autism. We are so lucky!
F is for Friend. Everyone needs a friend. Including and especially those with autism. A friend who enjoys their autistic friend, who cares about them, and respects them. And a friend who gets something back from their autistic friend and knows it and wants more of it.
G is for GO! GO on with life. Don’t stop in misery and doubt and fear. Go with your autistic child. and see and do. Go as far as your courage and their courage will take them for the moment. Even if you don’t go past your front door, it is still somewhere. And it is the first step to somewhere else.
H is for Hero. Anyone with autism is a hero. Because they have been given a special purpose in this world that no one else has. It is a battle to fight and even conquer. Because the One who made them is the ultimate hero and He is fighting the battle with them and has already won.
I is for Impossible. Sometimes it is impossible for the autistic person to stop moving or making noise. It is impossible for them to drive through the car wash without going ballistic. It is impossible to get them to eat a spinach leaf. But in whatever seems totally impossible – what may never be- is something else-more possible and even better.
J is for Jump. Yeah, a lot of them jump. The one I know jumps because she is excited. There are all kinds of reasons to be excited. Our girl jumps when she learns that the next day is Christmas Day but she also jumps when she knows that we have marshmallows to put on the hot chocolate or that the parakeet was swinging on his new perch. Big things or small things. There are reasons to jump!
K is for kid. The kid in us will always be with us whether we like it or not. That kid in us stays there for an important reason. If you are like me, I see that kid all too well, when it comes to someone with autism. Especially persons under the age of 18. And we often wish that kid away so that the grown up can hurry up and arrive. Yet, it is the kid, with the energy, youth, imagination, and freshness that makes life feel like a new day over and over again.
L is for learn. Learning is for life. Don’t think that after all these years of raising a child with autism or knowing a child with autism that you have learned all there is to learn. There is more to learn and the teacher isn’t necessarily the more “normal” one – that is you the non autistic one. The learning goes both ways. And so does the teaching.
M is for miracle. They happen each day. The Divine Hand on a day that seems so stormy and black. The Divine hand on the day that seems so ho hum. The Divine Hand on the day that is sunshine and blue sky. On any given day, they happen. Notice them. They happen and will happen in life. Autism does not chase miracles away. They are for that day only and if you don’t notice one, your vision will be blurred to see any others that are sure to happen.
N is for Normal. Normal is totally overrated. It is the label that means most everyone or fitting the standard. “Everything looks normal,” said the doctor when listening to her heart. “Just another normal day – get up, eat, get dressed, go to school, eat dinner, go to bed. Blah Blah in between. When someone is labeled the opposite of normal, don’t think of it as being the death sentence of life because the standard isn’t being met, and that someone is not included in the everybody part- think of it as the path to NEW!
O is for Outside. On the outside, it may look like autism. They might flap. They might pace. They don’t look at you in the eye. They withdrawal. They don’t color in the lines. They may not even comb their hair. But.. that’s just the outside. The outside is NO indication of the treasures hidden inside.
P is for person. Horton knew for sure. We all need to realize and remember what he knew all along. Through thick and thin, he stood strong. A person is a person no matter how small – he said. In other words in the autistic world, a person is a person, no matter how autistic.
Q is for quiet. There are all different kinds of quiet when raising someone with autism. There is at the finally falling asleep kind of quiet. There is the stop yelling and just breathing quiet. There is the warm breeze kissing your face kind of quiet. No matter, quiet is so refreshing.
R is for Remember. Sometimes, yesterday and five minutes ago seem so far away. You wonder if what really happened even did. Maybe it’s not for you to remember. Of course there are things we DO remember. Do you remember when your child was first diagnosed with autism? Do you remember when your child laughed or smiled? Do you remember when you took your child to a public place and something embarrassing or even horrifying happened? Do you remember when you held your child after a meltdown and you felt that they needed your arms around them just by the way they didn’t break loose from your arms? Those are the things to remember!
S- is for sun. Sometimes, it plays hide and seek in the clouds. Sometimes it is hidden by the clouds. Sometimes it is so strong that you wish maybe a cloud or too would appear. No matter, the sun always shines somewhere. When it isn’t shining, look for the sunshine shining in your autistic child. It does shine there somedays just like the sun shines in the sky some days. It could be as simple as a laugh, a smile, or even crying sweet tears. It could be a song they hummed or the time they take your hand and hold it.
T is for time. There will be a time for messy, loud, sadness, and horribleness. There will be a time for neat, soft, happy, and wonderful. Maybe in raising an autistic child, time can only be described as one or the other. But either time, there is a time for it. And it happened for a good reason. So it must have been a good use of time.
U is for understand. We must understand one thing and that one thing is this: You will not understanding everything about autism. There will always be something that will be a mystery.
V is for Voice. They have one and so do you. You might feel you have to be the voice for your autistic child. But they have a voice too. I don’t necessarily mean a loud, articulate one. Maybe it is expressed another way. It could be a smile, a grunt, a moan, a song. We have to make sure they are free to voice a message that needs to be said. If not, there is only silence.
W is for wish. I wish that there was no autism. Or do I really wish this? If our child did not have autism. She would not be who she is. Who she is – zealous, compassionate, creative, energetic, innocent, bright, friendly, – Who she isn’t – normal, logical, developmentally equivalent to her age, an orator, mathematician, typical, – So what I do wish is for our daughter to wish what we wish for- happiness in what could be!
X is for Xenium. I didn’t know this word existed. Maybe you didn’t either. How many words do you know that start with X? I went to the X page in the dictionary. Well, this one means to offer a gift to a stranger. Intriguing to me. Because knowing many autistic children, and raising an autistic child, I have come to see that they offer many gifts to total strangers. And sometimes, they don’t come in a. box and they are given when you least expect it. But they are offered no strings attached. All we have to do is receive them.
Y is for yes. When your child is diagnosed with Autism there are a lot of “no’s”. No, there is no cure. No, there is no one answer for what is the cause. No, You can’t solve all the problems that are going to come along. And for some, it gets even worse, No, your child will never graduate, drive a car, and maybe even talk. No, your child will never live independently. Are there any Yeses in this world of Nos? Why Yes! Yes, your child is a living, breathing, human being with a purpose for being in this world. Yes, they have unique talent that was given to them. Something only they can do. Yes, you are going to see blessings along the hard, rugged, journey. Yes, they are yours and yours to love and yes, in some ways, they are going to love you back. If you think pause and think, there may be more YESES than Nos.
Z is for zealous. I can’t think of any autistic person that I know of that lacks this trait. They jump, flap, spin, sing, shout, cry out, stomp, dance, run, laugh, – need I list more? When I see anyone whom I know is autistic, do any of those things- I think to myself, there is someone who is bound and determine to say “I’m alive!”