Today's post is a collection of the shorter submissions I've received. Short, but no less brilliant. All three answered "What Autism Means to me" and did so brilliantly...
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the anthology posts...
Lisa - Friend - school administrator
Autism means to me really cool kids that make my job endlessly interesting!
Myranda - Fan
We are fairly new to the autism game.
What autism means to me? It means seeing the world completely upside down inside out and "raw". I see the world as my four year old sees it..... The beauty in a snail slithering across the sidewalk, touching every surface we pass and then the long discussions to describe the sensation on our hands. Eating dinner under the table, instead of " at" it when we go out to eat, even when others look at us in disgust..... Autism has comes to be a beautiful thing to me, its opened my eyes, taught me not to judge, helped me see all the rainbows, lollipops and happy moments, even in the midst of a meltdown.
Autism is the huge hugs I get when he sees me after work, the look of pure adoration as I tuck him in at night, the super proud look on his face when he helps his little sister accomplish something.
Autism will does not define us anymore, instead it makes us better, it has taught myself and all my children (15 on down to 2) the beauty of the world through the innocence of a four year old.
It's tough, we climb mountains together, at times I think I'll go crazy, but its all worth it when I see that beautiful smile on my boys face.
Wendy - Friend - Parent of one of Jack's besties
Autism to me means constant effort, undying dedication, perseverance not perfection, finding joy in the small things and keeping one's eye trained on what's truly important. Otherwise you'd go mad.
I see autism from an outsider's perspective. I look in on a family I love dearly and watch. I try to participate when I can, when I'm asked, when I hope it will be helpful. But I know I cannot ever know what it is truly like to live with autism every day, all day. What goes on in his head? Or in his mother's or father's or sister's? I can imagine, but I cannot know.
I feel their fatigue and I yearn to give them my strength. I feel their frustration and I want to give them my peace. I see their despair and I want to give them joy.
But you know what? They don't need that. They are human, they falter, they tire, but they always, always pick themselves back up and start again with renewed vigor and love. They are the strongest, bravest, most compassionate family I know and I am a better person having been allowed to be around them.