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Symptoms – On Abstract Concepts – Autism

Do you remember the first time you played the children’s game of “Tag” or of “Hide and Seek?” Many may not, but they remember having played the game or games in question any number of times after that first. As for me, I don’t recall playing any such game until I was well into my adulthood and raising children of my own. As a child, playing such a game was never something in which I recall being involved at all.

I cannot say whether or not my reasons for not having done so (at least not in a way that lodged itself in my memory) was what it seems looking back. Put simply, I distinctly recall at some point in my childhood (around five years of age), the World whizzing about me. I’m pretty sure my sensation would have some similarity to what would today be referred to as “sensory overload.” It may have actually been so.

I have since come to the conclusion that I may be mildy Autistic. As such, I think I can speak a little to the feeling my son has when confronted with things abstract. I’m very sure that my ability to understand is more than a little limited. Nonetheless, I think it has helped my to understand his issues with things not-so-concrete, to consider my own childhood—to look back and realize how things were for me.

I said in response to a comment on a recent post on a social media platform, that for my son, Garrett, dealings with things abstract have constantly been difficult at the very least. I felt the need to make this statement based on an obvious misunderstanding to my initial post.

The person seemed to think I was saying that Garrett had, “made a friend,” that I was not addressing his inability to understand things not pretty well set in stone.

The funny thing about it is, though it can be argued that my son had befriended another young man at the local laundromat, in reality, the chances are, should he see the young man in question again, he will at best treat their relationship as non-existent, and at worst ignore his being entirely.

The point here is, the idea of friendship is one that has yet to be broached by my child in any meaningful way! Mind you, I’m not saying my son doesn’t interact with others in various ways. What I’m saying is, when he does so, it’s almost never a result of his friendship with the person or persons in question. In fact, as I pointed out, as his father, I have often received the title of “best friend” from my son.

To be fair, this is little more than an outpouring of the fact that I have sought (and I think, largely successfully) to understand my son when others have failed to do so.

I bring the subject of friendship up mostly to make it clear that Garrett has a long way to go to reach what might be considered “normal.”

My primary intent in penning this article, was to talk about the idea, for Garrett, and I assume many more Autistic folks’ struggle with concepts that are not in the physical realm.

For my child, this literally stretched to the idea, that calling the same thing by two different names was improper. This meant that a bird couldn’t be an eagle, cars and trucks couldn’t be automobiles, and even that the idea of addressing males as “he” and females as “she” is a matter of some confusion.

It’s also true that concepts that “too big” and “too small” are more difficult to grasp than for people his age. “Daddy, these pants are too big! No, Garrett, the pants are too small, you’re getting too big for them.” Is a constant and ongoing conversation between my boy and myself.

I know this is something with which a good many children have problems, but where I’ve seen that to be the case, I have never witnessed it to the degree or extent that it is so for Garrett. So the concept of “opposites” is often lost on him as well, to say nothing of “gradient differences.”

With a good deal of time and work, and with examples only, he began recently, to be able to distinguish between cold, cool, warm, and hot. He still cannot deal with concepts like “lukewarm.” Further, each “graded distinction” like this one, will likely require similar examples for the immediate future.

One of the more difficult things, is that Garrett (and every Autistic child or adult I’ve met, for that matter) is quite intelligent. As such, and the more “normally” he seems to behave, the harder it is for others to believe or accept that he’s any different than any other child his age.

Besides that their evaluations cannot take into consideration the enormous amount of work that has been done both by Garrett, and on his behalf by others (myself, his mother, teachers, daycare workers, therapists, etc.), there is a desire to believe in unending positive outcomes.

On the one hand, I refuse to accept that my son’s (or any other Autistic person’s) future is necessarily limited. On the other hand, I recognize that it may well be.

As such, my intent—as I have said many times—is to continue to seek a future for my son that makes it possible for him to live a more or less normal life. That being said, whether or not that will happen, is something that remains to be seen.

Regardless what others tell me, regardless how things appear at present, I will continue to seek the best possible outcome for my child. And it’s my contention that this is part of the reason he was able to become able to do something so very many people take for granted—play games with more than the simplest of rules.

The hope for the future, is that he’ll learn to apply those same ideas to other, equally important things.

As usual, thanks for your time and attention, and may your time be good.

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You are who You are, Your Acceptance Notwithstanding – Religion and Politics

One of the favorite memes of the “Internet unapologetic” on social media in the modern day has the essential form “I am who I am, your acceptance is not required.” Each iteration is slightly different, but all are essentially statements by the posters of the idea that they are, essentially unapologetically, who they are.

The thing about such an assertion is that it “works both ways.”

Where it’s true that you have spent your life becoming the person you are today, the reality is, you have spent your life becoming the person you are today.

About now, you’re wondering if I read (or maybe even thought about) what I just wrote. Let me assure you that I did.

The thing is, each of us has qualities of which we’re proud, those we find innocuous, and those we would rather not speak of, as they make us less than proud, to say the least.

To be clear, yes I am saying this is as true for me as for pretty much everybody.

What makes this even more challenging, is the realization that many folks—sometimes, yet again, myself included—are not particularly realistic about who they are.

A sort of “offshoot result of” this fact, is that there are often times when people don’t recognize who they are, but others do!

It’s also true that others see us, and correctly or incorrectly when doing so, make judgments on our person that are inconsistent with our understanding or recognition of who we are.

Where it’s easy to make the statement that others’ evaluations of our character and other traits of our persons are invalid (and to be fair, sometimes it’s correct as well), that doesn’t mean we’re correct in so doing.

The harder course, is to consider the words of others, and try to come to a conclusion as to their validity.

What makes this even more difficult for many, is that instead of seeking ways to improve themselves, many folks will take umbrage at the comments or statements of others, regardless the spirit of intent under which those observations were made.

The truth is though, regardless the mindset of the person offering their views, you should keep in mind one simple thing, either what the person is saying is true, or it’s not.

What that means is, even if the person expressing their viewpoint does so from a perfectly malicious perspective, your consideration of what they have said can still be helpful to you.

It has been said that, you make a choice—conscious or unconscious—as to how you will allow external influences to affect you. Though there are instances in which your “choices” are more or less involuntary, this is not generally the case. Put another way, more often than not, your choices are not entirely unconsidered at some point, nor are they necessarily reasonable or proper.

What that means is, even when a comment is proffered by one’s worst enemy and in the worst of ways (assuming one even has folks he or she considers enemies to begin with) they are worthy of consideration.

To be clear, am I then saying that consideration will always result in some sort of conviction, or need for remediating action? Absolutely not! That being said though, How can one even determine whether that’s the case without considering what’s said by that enemy?

I “get” the desire to make it clear to folks that you’re not terribly unhappy with who you are or what you’re doing. I further understand that, as we get older, that desire is likely to become stronger, if for no better or greater reason than that we’ve had time to examine who we are in detail, and make adjustments based on what we’ve seen. I’m not trying to say I see this position to be entirely unreasonable.

On the other hand, I think it unreasonable to ignore the statements of others out of hand. Again, this comes with the understanding that much of what you hear—particularly the older you get—will be things you’ve long since heard and considered. Even so though, taking the time to listen to others and really consider what they say to you, may be key to improving yourself and your lot in ways you never thought possible.

As I have already said, one of the keys to getting the benefit from what others say, is to be essentially dispassionate in so doing. Put another way, forget who said something and concentrate on what they said.

This, in essence, is why I find the meme spoken about at the beginning of this piece to be at the very least problematic.

No matter how old and experienced in the World you become, there is always room for improvement.

If you’ve children, and you haven’t imparted to them this truth, you’re not doing them any favors.

The seeds of such improvement can come from anywhere.

So, for those of you expressing the idea behind the “I am who I am, your approval is not required,” meme, know this. Where what you’re saying is technically true, firstly, that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit if you hear what I’m saying and consider it earnestly.

Further, if what you choose to be is among those things society finds improper, intolerable, immoral or illegal, you may find things are not as simple as the above impression implies.

Final words? Where it’s true you’re not beholden to the rest of the World for your happiness, satisfaction or wellbeing, it’s equally true that others may contribute to any or all of the three if you will let them.

Those around you are likely often incorrect in a variety of ways. Things they bring you to consider by accident or on purpose may be only marginally worthy of your consideration. Even so, there will be “gems among the worthless pebbles.”

If you would have a better life, find ways to improve yourself, look for mechanisms to make your time on planet Earth (and that of those who count on you as well) better, do not fail to consider the words of others you-ward.

As usual, thanks for your attention, and may your time be good.

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Maybe They’re Not Horrible Parents – Religion and Politics

Pretty much every time I see a parent somewhere “in the public eye,” dealing with a child or with children that seem entirely unruly, I ask myself a simple, obvious question. Is this person, or are these people, “a bad parent,” or “bad parents?”

A lot of folks would hold this to be more ore less a “self-evident fact.” I have a different perspective—which I have to acknowledge has changed somewhat as a pretty direct result of having an Autistic child.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here, I have pretty much never assumed that one or more parents or other guardians were bad strictly on the basis of the behavior of their child or children. Even so though, having “ongoing dealings withan Autistic child has only caused me to become stronger in my previous conviction to the effect this is not necessarily the case. Put another way I don’t start with the assumption that they’re inherently or by nature, bad parents.

The simple reality is, if you can look at the folks “running the asylum” and come to the conclusion they are honestly, earnestly trying to deal with those over whom they have charge, yet appearing to fail miserably, maybe it’s time to reconsider what’s going on.

To be fair, what they’re dealing with may be as simple as a child in need of a different kind of parenting—in point of fact I would,  contend that this is almost always the case, for a variety of different reasons. That being said, those reasons, and the change on their part that will make the person in their care more “manageable,” may be far from a simple thing with which to deal.

In my case, my “most difficult” child, is moderately Autistic. Being fair, he’s a great kid who I love dearly. One of the interesting “traits” of Autism, I have addressed in past articles, to wit, Autism is “spectral” in nature (not a “single thing”), and the “nature of” that “spectrum” is that no two Autistic people “at the same place on the spectrum” are there as a result of the same “symptoms.”

What this means, at least in part, is that two Autistic children (even if their “level of Autism” is supposedly the same or very similar) will not exhibit the same behaviors. As such, you cannot “handle” all Autistic folks (nor even the ones that are in very similar places on the spectrum) in the same way and expect to achieve either the same or good results.

I’m going to go “out on a limb” here, and suggest that this is true for far more conditions than Autism. In fact, I would expect it to generally be the case whether those conditions were genetic or strictly behavioral in nature.

What makes all of this worse is, not all parents are even highly intelligent, much less—even among those who are relatively intelligent—specialists in the “handling and care of” those who would be considered “abnormal” by society at large (or the specific communities responsible for designating them so). This at least suggests that the folks dealing with such children, are going to spend a great deal of time puzzling over what approach(es) will work to help their children to have successful lives.

Now you might be tempted to think that the above statement, I.e. “puzzling over what approach(es) will work to help their children to have successful lives,” translates to, “making their children behave in socially acceptable and appropriate ways in public now.” If you do believe that, allow me to assure you that you’re mistaken.

I have long held the belief  that, “When doing things properly, parents aren’t raising children, they’re raising adults.” That means that what all parents should be concerned about, is who their children turn out to be in the long run.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have both a need and a responsibility to keep our children “in check and out of trouble” as children, but that our ultimate goal ought to be to teach them what it means to be good and responsible adults.

It’s important to realize that this process may not look as expected—most particularly if the child is, say, Autistic.

By way of example, none of my older children were allowed large amounts of “screen time.” My youngest however, does get more than most would count acceptable or correct. Why? Well, because the youngest has major issues with “lingual delay” in various regards.

I’m not what one would consider a “super conversational” person to begin with; further, I’d be the first to acknowledge that I don’t tend to be conversant in a great deal of the “language of the day” (somewhat on purpose). I generally understand when people use it, but don’t tend to do so myself. As such, if I want my child to understand and know how to respond to others, I have to somewhat, “count on others” to help with that process.

You may think actual interactions to be better, but in reality, “screen time” works better, as I can somewhat control to what he is exposed, and talk to him about the parts that are problematic without upsetting folks.

What’s the point of all that I’ve said up to now? Well, it’s that a good many people would look at my “parenting style” and find me wanting based on what they see me to be doing and how my child behaves at present. In this, I’m sure I’m far from alone.

Sometimes the “problem” perceived is unconventional parenting, sometimes it’s that the parent or parents is or are struggling to figure out what methods to use when dealing with their “unconventional child or children.”

I wanted to take a moment to look at this from a “different angle,” too.

For those parents out there who are at their wit’s end dealing with “problem children,” you need to know that you are not (by necessity at least) “bad parents.”

A quick anecdote, and I’ll call this piece complete.

I was in one of my son’s favorite “play places” here in my local area. While there, I saw a child that displayed many hallmarks of mild to lightly moderate Autism (maybe even more “moderate” than was easily recognizable). I have become acutely aware of such children since dealing with my son. I watched him for a time, to be sure of what I was seeing.

After a time (more than half an hour, probably more than an hour), I politely inquired of the mother as to whether or not the young man (around two years of age) had been diagnosed Autistic.

His mother looked almost shocked, and said something I assume was intended to assuage my concern (I wasn’t concerned, just curious). I watched as she and—I assume—her husband worked to corral the young man I watched him do many of the things my own son had done at his age (and before I knew how to deal with him). And I came to realize, they probably were regular recipients of at least disapproving stares, based on the behavior of their son.

To them, I wanted to say, had I felt able, “You are not bad parents.”

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Symptoms Your Expecatations vs His Behavior – Autism

I’ve written a couple of pieces in a row about the idea of “symptoms” of Autism. The first thing you should understand, is that what I refer to as “symptoms” are more or less properly referred to as “behaviors.” I use the word “symptoms,” because for Autistic folks—at least some of them—behaviors are a matter of compulsion. That is, many folks dealing with Autism from a first person perspective, have a very hard time not behaving in the ways they do.

That’s not to say they cannot overcome “bad” behaviors, just the it’s a great deal harder for them to overcome that powerful “need” than for most people I’ve ever met.

So when you see my child “misbehaving,” and assume the “answer” is “a good paddling,” you need to understand that you’re almost certainly bent on a course of action that—if I heeded your counsel—would cause it to take substantially longer for get him over the “compelling misbehavior.”

You see one of the very first things I learned (more than thirty years ago) as a parent, is that using the same “tactics” for all children, will most assuredly not end in the same results. For example, for my son, spankings and even really “stern talkings to” have virtually the exact opposite effect to those desired.

You need to be fully aware that none of my other children (I have three others), “worked like” my youngest. The closest was the last (prior to him).

I think I’ve said enough about this, except perhaps to indicate what does tend “work when” dealing with my son. There are two motivators, one for “easy” situations, one for more “difficult” ones.

The one for simpler situations, is totally counterintuitive. It is talking to him like an adult, but even then, not allowing oneself to express tension or anger or concern (for the most part). The second—for ore difficult times—is serious disincentive. By this, I mean, finding what he likes and wants, and moving drastically away from that thing. You can use lesser disincentives, or threats of disincentives in “middle ground” situations, both tend to be moderately effective.

Having, I think, been rather clear on that, I want to broach another subject that is maybe more important to those who end up dealing with my son and likely with other Autistic children. That would be “What do you do when you see my child misbehaving, particularly where your child(ten) is(are) concerned?”

I should tell you that my perspective has not changed a great deal where this is concerned. As a rule, if a child misbehaves around me. Unless harm is coming or likely to come to someone, leave the actions to be taken, most particularly “discipline,” to the parents. If it appears that someone is going to come to harm, do your best to extract that person or those persons from the situation. An important point, as a rule, do not attempt to get the Autistic kid out of the situation unless you know the child in question (and typically have the permission of the parent(s) or guardian(s) so to do), or are trained in dealing with Autistic children.

Now comes an important consideration. You have expectations of “normal” children, I get that. My child is not a “normal” child. He is Autistic. As such your expectations of him are great, and I work daily, on helping him to meet the expectations I know others will have for him. That being said, you need to understand that what you expect of him, is often virtually totally meaningless  to him.

So I will make him tell your child how sorry he is—particularly if you insist on his doing so—but I want you to understand that it means little to nothing to him. In fact, on many occasions, he has no understanding that he has done badly or wrongly to begin with. As such, when you ask him to say something like, “I’m sorry,” cannot and will not result in what you expect. Rather, I must provide disincentives sufficiently stern as to make it clear what he is doing or has done, is a problem.

In short, as little as I like it, I am tasked with, “being my son’s conscience.” The hope in my actions, comes from the idea that he will learn patterns that are acceptable and eschew those that are not.

In Garrett’s life, it should be understood, there will always be a concern that he will not realize something he’s doing—potentially even something quite majoris wrong or bad.

It’s my hope that I can largely train him out of such behaviors, but I remain somewhat pessimistic to that idea at this point.

Parents of other Autistic children will likely have more or less success, depending on the child in question.

The most important point in all I have said may or may not seem significant to you, but it’s so important to me as to bear repeating. When you’re out and about, assume neither your right nor your responsibility to deal with children around you. Yes, you must protect your children. Yes you should work to protect the children of others. Past that, your best hope is that the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the child “misbehaving” are present and aware.

For my part, you can trust that this is the case. Rarely is my child out of my direct line of sight (much to his chagrin) when he’s in my care. I expect nothing less when he’s in the care of others (and need to know if that is not the case).

I work toward the idea of his being able to be left alone and be on his best (or at least relatively good) behavior. I am far from sure this will ever happen. In the end though, unless you know a child or the behavior he or she exhibits, I highly suggest you leave him or her alone where possible.

Two more considerations, and I’ll leave things be.

First, I live with the judging eyes, looks, sneers and snarky statements on a daily basis, unless you make it impossible to do so (very unlikely), count on me paying pretty much no mind when you act as so many have done. My “job” is bringing up my child, not in placating or otherwise making you happy.

Second, though you have made things harder by your acts toward my child if you encounter him and do not heed my counsel, the chances are you’ll never know this is the case. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that I truly don’t have time to mess with you. I have a moderately Autistic almost-seven-year-old to look after. The second is, in some measure, I used to be you. As such, it’s hard to fault you for you position—errant or not.

Okay, at the end of this piece. Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Symptoms – Largest Concerns – Autism

For the last couple of things I’ve written for my blog, I have focused on a couple of main ideas. The first I’ll mention, is the idea that if you don’t seek to know and understand an Autistic person, you will be hard put to deal with them in any reasonable or meaningful way. This idea is pretty much universally the case, regardless with whom you are dealing, but it’s of a great deal more importance (in my view at least) when you’re dealing with Autistic folks.

The second is, without getting to know an Autistic person, the chances are good you will be working from understandings that are at best moderately flawed (since the things most often said about Autistic children appear to often not be true—they are at best, often the case).

What I have failed to talk about to this point though, have been the “symptoms of” Autism that I haven’t thought to cover, as important as they are. I am the more remiss in the fact that, these tendencies are the ones that were the scariest for me to confront in my own son’s life.

Every parent knows the fear of a child “gone missing.” You take little Jane to the park, look away for a moment, and when you turn back, she is not in sight. No parent can be blamed for the fear that wells up in his or her heart—for the tightening in the stomach—that ensues.

Most of the time, you catch sight of the little one in due course, and all becomes well in the world again. You may be a little bit more protective as a result, but all is good.

Now let me present you with the reason that most parents of non-Autistic children, “ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

Unless your child is quite young, the chances are he or she knows his or her name, maybe his or her address, or mommy’s or daddy’s (or both) telephone number(s).

The first reality of moderately Autistic to severely Autistic children is commonly that, such children are lucky to know their name—that is, be able to answer the question, “What’s your name?”— by age four or five. The rest of the things discussed—phone numbers, address, even parents names, my almost-seven-year-old still to this day really doesn’t know (and I promise, it’s not for want of trying). Now let me tell you that this thing that would be a nightmare to the average parent, is just the beginning for a parent dealing with moderate to severe Autism.

For most children, by the time they were four or five years of age—if not younger—they would understand they were lost. Now imagine a child who has no idea this is the case—a child whose brain works in such a way, that he or she never really thinks about being lost. Have I got your attention yet? Well don’t worry, things get “worse.”

You see, when most children are lost, they will at least try to find assistant. Obviously, this is a “double edged sword,” in that there are evil people out there. Even so most folks would have their children seek out law enforcement or security personnel or similar if they’re lost. My Autistic son will not only not do so, he will run from such folks if they try to “confront” (even mildly) him.

At best, most folks he doesn’t know are “furniture.” At worst they are things of fear. And I can tell you, that has not been instilled in him, it’s just how he responds.

By this point, you are beginning to  see what the parents of many moderately to severely Autistic folks are dealing with.

Imagine a child who, by five years of age or older, is still barely mastering “challenge-response conversation.” Don’t know what that is? That’s because in “normal” children, it’s not a concern. Imagine having a child who you ask the question, “Are you okay?” only to always have him answer, “I’m fine.” Regardless what is happening. Imagine having a child who you can ask, “How old are you?” At seven years of age, only to get a blank stare in “response.” This is the child I deal with each and every day.

There are a very few things to which he, “knows the answers.” This is slowly changing, but it’s mostly still the case at seven years of age! And I have seen this to be relatively common in moderately to severely Autistic children.

What makes all of this worse is, from a physical perspective, Garrett (my son) is (for his age) relatively athletic. He can walk well and quickly, he can run, he can do the things a boy his cage would be expected to be able to do in the physical sense. But he doesn’t “get” the idea of being lost.

When your child runs ahead, you may worry that he or she gets “out of sight.” You almost certainly expect though, that either he or she will realize that mom or dad is not behind and stop or slow down. In the worst case he or she will seek out help when lost. None of this is true for my child or for me. I have to constantly remind my child to not get too far out ahead. Yes, I know, you might have to do that as well. The question is one of consequences if he or she fails to heed.

On top of everything, you can talk to your child about getting lost and be relatively sure he or she will have some understanding of what you’re saying. This is not nearly so true for an Autistic child. Imagine a child who, at almost seven years of age, is still mystified by games like “tag” and “hide and go seek.” This is my child! Upon my son, most abstract concepts are entirely lost. If he can’t see it, feel it, touch it, it’s not only not “real” for the most part, it’s not comprehensible—he cannot understand it.

As usual, I don’t bring this to folks to get them to pity me or my son. I bring it to folks so they can understand when I say things like, “No, you probably don’t understand what I’m going through.” I bring it to folks so they can understand why their friends with Autistic children appear “hyper-vigilant.” It is because, by comparison to others, they are.

Okay, I think I’ve said quite enough in this post. As usual, thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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On Symptoms – Autism

In my last article related to Autism, I talked about the idea that one’s ability to relate to folks so diagnosed, is based on the ability and willingness to actually get to know the person in question in order to do so.

In this post, I wanted to take a moment to deal with some examples of the sort of things about which I was speaking in the previous one.

One of the things that seems to be well accepted among many folks who deal with Autism, is the idea that the people with whom they deal will have what are generally referred to as “sensory issues.”

For the most part, this means that part of the expectation many—if not most—people dealing with Autistic folks have, is that those people will be unable to tolerate loud noises, particularly for extended periods of time.

I can’t speak to how common a thing that is, nor can I say whether there is a specific “population or level” for which it is more common. I’ve seen instances where folks made special concessions for people who appeared to have such issues, but I have to tell you, I have never personally met an Autistic person that I knew was Autistic (which generally implies they were at the least moderately Autistic), where the Autistic person appears to have general issues with “sensory overload.”

Am I trying to imply this is not something that happens? Not at all! Am I intending to say that it’s not common? No. That having been said, I can tell you that, whether children I have met as a result of my son attending school, or people I have met as a result of “running into them” various places, I have seen very little evidence that children who are moderately Autistic (or on the “moderate end of severe” Autism) are prone to “sensory overload” issues.

Where my own son is concerned, there are a good many circumstances in which he would prefer to not find himself, some of them noisy, some not. Equally, there a number of situations he likes, or even thrives in, some raucous, some not quite “library level still.” If he enjoys a particular environment or occurrence, the fact that it’s loud or quiet seems to have little bearing on any part of his behavior or ability to deal with it.

This is but one example of things I have heard said (and even said myself early on) about Autistic folks that I find to be questionable at best—at least where people I know are concerned.

Another example is the “dislike of change” people believe characteristic of Autistic folks. Again, I can only speak for people I know (and most particularly, for my own son), but I can tell you that—at least in the long run—my son is no more resistant to change than are most children.

To be sure, there are many things to which he would prefer to not transition, and this is particularly true if the thing he’s transitioning from is something he enjoys. Put simply, his choice to easily or quickly transition from one thing to another depends on how much he likes the thing he’s transitioning from and equally, how much he likes or dislikes the thing to which he is transitioning. I defy you to find a child for whom, to some degree, this is not the case.

The difference for Garrett, is more how he responds when he doesn’t like the change. To make myself clear, there is one trait I find to be rather common among Autistic children, it is referred to as the “meltdown.” I—and I’m sure most parents of Autistic children—have found ways to mitigate, and even largely to eliminate meltdowns. Once the meltdowns are reduced to a manageable level, if not entirely eliminated, suddenly, the problems with transitions tend to be less obvious than before that occurs.

I’ll readily allow the idea that there are many children who more or less just, “go with the flow.” Little to nothing bothers them, and when things do bother them, they just tend to live with it. That being said, I know you have met non Autistic children who “pitched fits” when they were told they had to move from something they liked to something they didn’t (and hey, let’s face it, how many adults feel like doing likewise?).

The point here is, I think a lot of things seen as “traits” or “symptoms” of Autism are generally at least heavily overstated. Again, in deference to parents and caregivers who must deal with children for whom the tendencies in question are definitely existent, I “tip my proverbial hat.”

Part of the point of my previous article, was to make it clear that each individual—to say nothing of Autistic folks—must be dealt with by considering his or her own set of traits. Two children considered to be unaffected by any particular condition will still be different. The same applies to two Autistic or two ADHD children. Really, since it applies to children not diagnosed with any particular condition, it more or less stands to reason that it will be true for two children who have some condition or other.

Obviously, this leads to the main conclusion of my prior piece—that each Autistic (or ADHD, or child with whatever condition, or “normal child”) must be “learned” or understood to help him or her to benefit from whatever activity he or she may be expected to participate in.

All of this seems obvious, the problem is, people have a habit of either paying the concept no mind, or failing to recognize its existence.

Though it should probably be expected that most folks nearing or “entering” adulthood should need less concession than those who are younger, to some degree, it should be assumed that this must be true for older folks, as well as children. What you should have taken from the former statement though, is that it is all but imperative for younger folks.

Final thought? Though the assumption exists that certain things are true for particular populations of folks, it should be understood that the things expected are not necessarily true (at least not as generally as people would like to believe). This certainly applies to Autistic folks, and I’m sure, to just about every population of individuals imaginable.

Okay, here I am again at the end of a composition. Hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have penning it. Regardless that, thanks for doing so, and may your time be good.