I’m Charlotte and like all the other chicks I’m a mum. I have 2 beautiful children Lily, age 4 and Jack, age 2. But its Lily I’m mainly here to talk about.
When Lily was 2 I noticed that lots of my friends’ children the same age were talking. Lily wasn’t. At least not much. Then there were the meltdowns… If you think your child had ‘terrible 2s’, well let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. At that point we got referred to a Paediatrician and Speech and Language Therapy.
Two years later we finally got an answer Lily has Autism with an associated Speech Delay.
It’s easy to identify the challenges that come with being on the autism spectrum. It’s a clear struggle with many things that seem to come easily to others. Everyday things most of us do naturally can be distressing, or at least present significant obstacles; making eye contact … holding a conversation … handling social situations … All these things make getting through the day a little more intense and navigating the social aspect of life a bit more of an uphill battle.
But being autistic isn’t all about stumbling blocks and impossible challenges. It’s also about the gift of being able to see and interpret the world differently. And
different doesn’t have to mean limited or less than. It’s pretty easy to make a case for how some of the differences in perception and thought processing actually provide a unique perspective and a new way of looking at problems.
Simply put, Autism is Amazing!
While others are busy engaging in shallow conversations and occupied by social niceties, Lily is fascinated with small things. Feeling the breeze through her hair and the sun on her face.
If she says something (her talking is coming on leaps and bounds), you can be sure it’s what she means. She’s not good at reading faces and body language. This means that emotional games don’t work with Lily. She’s not good at telling you about her emotions, and not good at reading yours. With Lily it’s straightforward with no hidden intentions and no ulterior motives. I’ll never need to worry about interpreting or translating what she says.
Children on the autism spectrum who hyper-focus on something may have difficulties forming relationships and relating to others who don’t share their interest. But as adults, these traits can be highly valuable in certain fields that rely on experts who not only pay attention to the details, but who are actually fixated on them; fields like cybersecurity, engineering, applied mathematics, research and development… In other words, what may seem like a challenging trait at first can end up being a highly valuable one later on as I look to make my way in the world.
Lily lives in a black and white world. There’s no muddy, grey areas. She’s straightforward, upfront, and direct. If she loves something, she always love it. If she hates something, there’s no changing her mind. I’ll never struggle to figure her out. She’s an open book!
If Lily has an interest in something, she will learn everything she can about it. The things that interest her become her passion For Lily a huge passion is numbers, she’s going to be a real maths whizz!
Lily has challenges and sometimes it’s hard to watch her struggle. But she has many amazing qualities that make her awesome.
Autistic Pride Day is a celebration of the neurodiversity of people on the autism spectrum on 18 June each year. It celebrates what people with autism bring to the community and recognises their potential, and my goodness Lily has potential!!