Thursday, April 26, 2012

Autism: Through A Child's Eyes

I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with a group of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders at a local school. We started out our discussion by talking about differences; each student identified 1 thing that was different about them. We spent a lot of time examining these differences before they concluded no difference was better or worse; they were just different. Each child also identified one thing that they were afraid of; again our focus was not on little or big fears but the fact we all had different ones. We then spent some time discussing autism, bullying, and did some great sensory activities to help us understand a bit of what it must like to have autism. We concluded our time together by going around the circle with each person complimenting the person next to them and talking about how good it felt to be accepted and to have friends. Afterwards the children painted pictures and wrote either something they had learned about autism or something that they thought about Caden.  Honestly the insight and compassion these children demonstrated gives me a great deal of hope for our future!

The kids were fascinated by my blog statistics, particularly all of the countries represented. They are looking forward to being world famous artists after this blog posts. They can’t wait to share this link with friends and family and I know that they would love to hear some comments from you!

According to Anna, "Caden is a nice boy. Caden is a nice friend. Caden is like others!"

According to 1st grader Jac, "Autism is not horrible. People with autism might act differently. They have a brain like us."

According to 3rd grader Alyss,a "Caden is very special. He is also very different from other, and I think he is very cute!"

According to 1st grader Maia,"Caden is nice. Caden is different. I am different."

According to 3rd grader Meli, "Some people with autism don't have friends, but you don't have to treat them that way. Because everybody's different. They're just like you. People with autism are good at hearing, tasting, speaking, seeing, or feeling. Sometimes they do things that people wouldn't do to calm them down. It might look weird but that's what they do."

According to 1st grader Izaak, "Autism is not bad. We are all different and that's okay."

According to 3rd grader Makayla, "Autism is something they feel, taste, see, and hear things. Caden has autism too. Caden has a brain that is a big brain just like the rest of us."

According to 3rd grader Dylan, "Autism isn't bad. Caden can finish a puzzle really fast. People with autism are different just like everybody else is different."

"Caden is very special and is different. It doesn't matter because we are all different."

According to 3rd grader Lily, "I learned that one out of three people with autism get bullied. I also learned that people with autism feel, hear, see, smell, and taste different. I also learned that people with autism can grow up to do anything."

According to 3rd grader Journie, "Autism is when your brain is wired differently. Caden has autism. I help Caden with his spelling."

According to Bella, "When Caden sees a bright light he gets kind of scared. When eats a banana, he thinks that it is slimy."

"Autism is a disorder. Autism is when wires cross in your brain. When I was little they thought I had autism."

According to 3rd grader Jarrell, "When Caden sees a bright light he gets nervous and scared. Caden has lots of friends."