Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 29th 2017 Contents B26
Friday, September 29, 2017
Thank you to everyone for your
overwhelming support of Part 1
in our ive part series on Autism.
We are continuing last month's ar-
ticle looking at a few more things
to never say to an autism parent.
"Why do you let him speak to
you like that? I just need to give
my child the look or two slap"
Sigh... where do I start? Even if
I considered physical punishment
(which I don't), the autism isn't
going to drain out of my child into
a puddle on the floor.
When a child with autism is ex-
periencing a meltdown, it often
occurs as a result of sensory over-
There may be too many differ-
ent sounds, a bright light, con-
tradicting instructions from two
adults, a strange smell.
It can be very subtle and imper-
ceptible to those who don't know.
When my child is in the midst of a
meltdown and he shouts at me or
attempts to physically hit me, he
is not in control of his thoughts or
Trying to rationalize with him
at this stage is pointless. My only
concern is making sure he doesn't
hurt himself or someone else and
trying to get him away from the
stimulation or cause of the melt-
down, if I know what it is. When
the immediate threat has passed
and he is calm, then we can talk
about what happened.
I assure you that if you see me
sitting on the floor in the mall
bear-hugging my child and rock-
ing him, there is no look or lash
that you or any other person can
give him which will cause the
meltdown to magically disappear.
"I know he's kinda funny about
..."In your head, you think you're
being understanding and sympa-
thetic. Nope! You're being conde-
scending and disrespectful.
My child is not being funny
about anything. He simply has
certain likes and dislikes and
wants them to be respected.
So if he doesn't like being
hugged, that should not be char-
acterized as him being funny
As an adult, you like things a
certain way. How about allow-
ing children (and not just special
needs children) the same cour-
"He doesn't do enough to help
around the house. He needs to be
Really??? You just said that out
loud? Every single thing that I do
is with the ultimate goal of him
You need to understand that
our timeline is not necessarily
I think it's awesome that your
child has been sleeping on their
own since they've been 6 months
and at 8 years, can sweep and
mop the entire house, scrub the
bathroom and make dinner. But
we're still working on proper pen-
cil grip at age 8.
So I've learnt to let the little
things go. At 8 years, he is still a
child; but one who can make tre-
mendous improvements when
the time is right.
Instead of dwelling on what he
can't do, I've learnt to celebrate
the little achievements... the ones
that neurotypical ("normal") chil-
dren achieve in a heartbeat, like
eating a new food or allowing his
picture to be taken.
Awareness and acceptance
within the autism community is
dependent on the larger popula-
tion being willing and able to un-
derstand our daily challenges.
This can only be achieved
through education and the con-
tinued desire to see another per-
son's circumstances through their
eyes, so be sure to check us out on
Facebook @Autism Spirit and
look out for us in next month's
edition of CARE.
BY JENNIFER KALICHARAN
I see so many disabled children out there,
Children needing so much love and care.
Yet, so many of you treat them with scorn or fear,
And this goes on year after year.
These children need love and understanding each day,
So when you see them, don't turn away!
Instead, offer a helping hand along the way,
Think of how fortunate you are to be able to play.
Some of these children ind it dif icult to bend,
But their love and compassion have no end.
With the rest of the world, they simply want to blend,
So the next time you see them, try being a friend.
Editor's note - Jennifer wrote this while still teaching in the public
school system. The kids at her school often made fun of children in a
neighbouring specially abled school and that was the inspiration
behind this poem. We thank Mrs. Kalicharan for helping raise
awareness and spreading kindness in her own school.
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