Monday, 2 April 2012

Autism Awareness Month

I've noticed Autism has become more and more recognized in the years I've been on this planet. Everybody who has been to school has probably known other kids with "special needs" who are a bit different. Maybe a bit weird, lonely or abnormally quiet.

I do not wish to post personal stuff and big gory details about everything that's happened in my life, but I still have a lot to say... I think.

I am not writing this for attention or to jump on the bandwagon and say "oooh Autism awareness day let's get in on some fame or something cos it's like, the in-thing that everyone's talking about" Hence why I didn't post these nails on YouTube.

Trust in me when I say: I know EXACTLY what I'm talking about, and I'm deadly serious. I am writing this from the heart and with MUCH respect to anyone who may read it.

If you're aware of something and you understand it, you probably won't have a problem with it. Everybody at some point has something they don't know how to do. Everyone has struggled, or is maybe still struggling with some part of their life, or their mind in some way. Some have worse times than others. Everyone is so different, and that's why everyone is so great!

Autism is not a disease, nor is it contagious or curable. Some of the quiet, lonely kids you knew may have had Autism, or Aspergers. Aspergers is a mild form of Autism. Different people have it at different levels. It's really common in boys. A boarding school near where I lived ten years ago which was specifically for boys and girls on the Autistic spectrum had 45 boys and 7 girls. That's a huge difference.

I will say when I went to college at first, for two years I did an employment extension course which had people from ages 15 to 45 with all kinds of different reasons for being there. Some had left school early and didn't get good grades, or don't know what to do for a job. Some had disabilities. Physical and psychological. There were girls, boys, women and men with dyslexia, cerebal palsy, Down's syndrome, anger issues, hard of hearing, and of course, a few people with Autism and Aspergers.

Throughout those years we ALL went on trips together, holidays, team and confidence building classes, hairdressing, car maintenance, maths... and we all hung out together and had love and respect for everyone. In college I noticed people aren't as mean as they are in school. Some of us obviously were given shit from time to time, but that happens so everyone in life. But those two years were the best years of my life. I met so many amazing people there, and learned that whatever kind of "special needs" you may have. What you may lack in one area, you most likely KICK ASS at something else. That's why everyone is equal. Don't dismiss the weird kid. Go and be weird with them. They might be a stupid c*nt - you've got that risk with everyone. But you'll most likely learn that they're really cool and awesome and you could end up with a friend for life.

People with Autism appear strange, lonely or unusual. Because... yeah it's hard to explain.

It's almost like being in a different world to everyone, even though they're with you and you're talking to them having a normal conversation. Facial expressions and body language aren't always clear. Sometimes not noticeable at all. Someone with Autism might not understand that you're upset when your tone of voice changes dramatically. They might just carry on with whatever they're doing without giving you a second look. And obviously that sometimes looks really rude or obnoxious, but they're absolutely NOT being rude at all. If you don't know that someone's upset, you wouldn't think of asking or apologising.

Very stubborn, specific and sometimes obsessive minds. I know that things usually have to be specific and go a certain way. Some more than others. And if someone throws a spanner in the works and what you're doing ends up going in a different direction, it may be a lot harder to cope with than some people take for granted. Sometimes really hard. Even for the small things like, your bus taking a slightly different route and dropping you off at the bus stop on the other side of the road. In severe cases, something like that could be impossible to cope with. To the point where you have to sit in a slightly different chair for work/school today and that could end up wrecking your whole day. It's more of a big deal than some people imagine. Like if there was a kink in a train track... the train might just stop. Until somebody can find a solution so it can start going again.

AMAZING MEMORY SKILLS! Usually the higher you are on the Autistic spectrum, the more awesome of a photographic memory you probably have. A young Autistic boy flew over London ONCE in a helicopter and then he drew a picture of it. When compared to the birds eye view photo of London, he had got every single detail perfect. Every building, every road, you could almost say that he traced it. But he didn't. He saw it once and remembered it.

I've heard of a few Autistic musically talented people. Some can listen to a song for the first time and then play it note for note straight away on the piano. It's really weird, but completely true, and amazing.

Okay there are so many different levels and different symptoms that it's impossible to put an explanation in a paragraph... or twelve.

I sometimes say: Sheldon from the Big Bang theory is a perfect example. And who doesn't LOVE Sheldon?? I know I do :) He's a scientist with lovely math and physics inspired fashion sense.

You can learn about it in actual English from someone who can write properly ...---> here <---...
 if you're even remotely intrigued enough to get scientifically anal about it ;)

A lot of people say "I suffer with Aspergers" or "My son suffers with Autism" which is a fair comment because yes, they do "suffer" with simple everyday social situations that nobody else ever thinks about. If you understand why it might be hard for them, they don't suffer. And if you notice that they're actually awesome clever people waiting for an opportunity to shine, they'll never suffer.

But this rule goes for everyone. Take some time to talk, listen and learn about the people around you who are different. I did, and everyone at college did with each other. And I never got annoyed with any of my friends for walking too slowly, not talking properly, throwing a strop about absolutely nothing because I knew WHY they were like that and knew that they were awesome people and good friends. I'd have patience and help them out. I knew they'd always do the same for me if I ever needed someone.

They were "Those Kids" - the weird, quiet, sometimes angry or lonely kids you remember from when you were a young'un and in school.

Some people were nasty to those kids because of the way they were. When you're young and immature it seems kinda funny to make fun of someone who's different from you and you feel like you're better than them because you made them cry.

Some people were friends with those kids.

Some were true friends who stuck by them through thick and thin.

Some were two faced and joined in with the nasty kids when it suited them.

Some people WERE those kids.

Probably a lot more people than you think.

Perhaps you were one.

I most definitely was. I still am now, and I always will be! And it's the best thing ever.

Because I learned to embrace what I may or may not have been born with with a positive attitude because I've met some fucking beautiful, amazing inspirational people in my life and I feel lucky to have lived for 25 years. I could die tomorrow. So could you. So yay for today, yay for you and yay for MEEEE!

That's something everyone is capable of doing if they wanted to try. Whoever you are or whatever way you may think, see, walk or talk.

Sure, Ignorance is Bliss

But Learning is a Mind-Blowingly Beautiful Experience.