Imagine waking up in the morning in your own world not knowing where you are, not knowing what will happen, and not knowing who to communicate to. Your mental signals are waving like a rock concert that never ends. You are mentally in a state of confusion or perhaps the light of the sun against your eyes appears to the the light of a million suns. If you are able to go into the bathroom and shave, the razor goes down the side of your face it feels like someone is taking a sandpaper machine and fiercely scraping the side of your face. The bristles of the tooth brush are like knives against your teeth. When someone touches you, you resist, because the feeling of a simple soft touch is actually the feeling that someone is punching or stabbing you. It hurts. You are afraid to meet new people because of what they might think of you and the way you think, feel, or function as a human being. Each case varies, however, these are some of the many feelings of someone with Autism.
The month of April marks “Autism Awareness Month”
Autism is an impairment of neurological development. Two main areas are social interaction and communication.
Each year the statistics are growing by leaps and bounds. It has now become an epidemic and many people are unaware and/or now sure how to respond to it. During my ten years of working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum, I have attended numerous seminars on Behavior Analysis and have seen and been told stories of parents who have lost thousands, if not, millions in the market as they had to take the day off to attend the seminar to learn how to work with their child, or in some cases, children who are on the spectrum.
During my non-aviation time, I have been working with learners with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified a.k.a. “atypical” autism) along with other areas of the autism spectrum both in a residential and vocational setting. It really is a difficult job, however, when you feel the success of the individuals that you work with, you get the best feeling in the world. Because of this, I wish to spread to you this feeling by showcasing some photos taken by a learner of mine who shares the same passion as I do:
Besides aviation photography, we like to have fun with other scenes such as the following:
HEAR OUR PRAYER
A Prayer For Autism
Blessed are you that never bids us to “hurry up” and more blessed are you who do not snatch our tasks from our hands to do them for us, for often we need time rather than help.
Blessed are you who take time to listen to defective speech, you help us to know that if we persevere, we can be understood.
Blessed are you who walk with us in public places and ignore the stares of strangers for in your companionship we find havens of relaxation.
Blessed are you who stand beside us as we enter new ventures, for our failures will be outweighed by times we surprise ourselves and you.
Blessed are you who ask for our help, for our greatness need is to be needed.
Blessed are you when by all these things you assure us that the thing that makes us individuals is not our peculiar muscles, not our wounded nervous systems, but is the God-given self that no infirmity can confine.
Blessed are those who realize that I am human and don’t expect me to be saintly just because I am disabled.
Blessed are those who pick things up without being asked.
Blessed are those who understand that I am weak and not just lazy.
Blessed are those who forget my disability of the body and see the shape of my soul.
Blessed are those who see me as a whole person, unique and complete, and not as a “half” and one of God’s “mistakes.”
Blessed are those who love me just as I am without wondering what I might have been like,
Blessed are my friends on whom I depend, for they are the substance and joy of my life!