Since it’s Autism Awareness Month, you’ve probably seen and read some articles on it.
Trying to educate on autism in order to gain acceptance for our kids.
Because there’s an autism spectrum, no two kids with autism display the same characteristics. There are certain struggles that are generally recognized as being associated with autism, and those are where I’ve seen much of the focus of autism awareness.
Because yes, there are things that are harder for our kids with autism than for other kids. And there are certain behaviors that it’s not just a child “being a brat” but are part of what they struggle with and we as parents have worked so hard with them to correct.
A little more understanding, a little more kindness: that would be a great outcome of Autism Awareness Month.
But there’s something else that I think it’s important to talk about when it comes to autism.
It started with a discussion on Facebook about whether or not it’s appropriate to have a bumper sticker that reads “My Autistic Child ignored your Honor Student” or “My Autistic Child licked your Honor Student,” which, in all honesty, made me laugh so hard that my iced coffee started to come out of my nose.
Except that I realized that maybe there’s so much focus on getting people to understand the struggles our kids with autism can have that maybe something gets lost.
Maybe you don’t know this about autism: autism doesn’t mean our kids can’t be the honor students, too.
There are some kids with autism who really struggle academically, but there are others who get amazing grades. Just like any other kid: school is easy for some and not so much for others.
My son has made the Honor Roll every quarter this year. He’s been this close to having all A’s. He’s a smart cookie, with test scores and other evaluations to back it up, not just his mama saying so.
He does the same assignments as the other kids in his grade. No modifications other than occasionally being able to type out certain assignments instead of having to handwrite them.
He’s not handed good grades or given easier or fewer assignments.
He earns what he gets: like any other child, some of it comes easily to him while he has to work hard at others.
This is where the “spectrum” part of the phrase “autism spectrum” comes in. There are kids on the spectrum who perform below grade level, who get modifications on their assignments in order to be able to complete them, who do most of their work in a setting outside the regular classroom: it depends on the needs of the individual child.
But there are kids with autism who are also honor students, too. Don’t assume that having autism means our kids can’t do just as well or even better than other kids.
Yes, kids with autism have challenges to deal with, but they can also be smart and kind and amazingly fantastic kids, too. And I just wanted you to know.