Monday, November 18, 2013

Written by Gregory Wright

I am not autistic. I do not have a child who is autistic. I work part-time in my school district as a teacher's assistant, mainly in classroom filled with young children who are all on various parts of the spectrum. We all work with the children one-on-one a several times a day. Some have very severe autism. Some you might not even guess they were on the spectrum. Some can't speak, and it frustrates them. Some have violent outbursts. Some just stare into space for long periods of time. But I don't really think about any of that on the days when I have the privilege of working with these children. I think about their smiles when they achieve something. How intelligent some of them are, far more than many children who are not on the spectrum.  I think about how many hugs they shower on me because they know I care about them. And in the cases of a child who doesn't like that sort of contact, many high fives.  I look into their eyes when they get this special secret smile and wonder what it is that they are thinking about that is making them so happy. I think how much better my day has been because I spent it with them. When I think of the phrase "This is Autism" I picture their happy smiles and their amazing hugs. If I had a picture, and permission to show it, it would be of these smiling huggy children.

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