Shannon Des Roches Rosa wrote a piece for KnowMore.tv (which was reposted on Huffington Post) that hits on 10 things she wishes you knew about her son, Leo, who is (as described), a cheerful, curly-haired, soccer playing, iPad-loving 13-year-old.
Specifically, she’s talking directly to the parents of non-autistic children.
You should check out the full article and list because I have a feeling that many of you would want to share this list with ‘uninformed,’ if you will, people you may know/have come across…but in the meantime here are some excerpts:
On friendship: No offense, but Leo is not waiting around for non-autistic kids to be friends with him. If you’re interested enough, and if you talk to him with respect, maybe he’ll want to interact with you.
On being non-verbal: Non-speaking does not mean non-intelligent. Leo understands pretty much everything people say to him, whether or not he response in a way that makes sense to you. So, please, presume competence.
On processing language: Leo appreciates your patience, because, like so many autistic people, it sometimes takes him a few beats to process spoke words…You don’t need to simplify your language or shout; he can hear you.
On his stealthness: Leo has no qualms about stealing other people’s pizza or French fries. Especially if he thinks you’re an easy mark. He will absolutely outsmart you on this, so pay attention.
On being loved: While his cheerful nature is partially genetic…I believe Leo’s happiness also stems from being loved, and accepted, and supported. This might not be every autistic child’s story, but it is Leo’s, and I wish the media would tell more stories like his.
We couldn’t agree more.
Lynsey, Community Manager