Christmas is a special time in my house and I wish it would last forever. Our home is always decorated with beautiful lights everywhere. I think it looks cozy and warm with candles in the windows. The fireplace is on and Christmas movies are playing on the television, while we are snuggled under blankets on the couch. Autism is better during the holiday season when routines and traditions are kept. It feels comforting to me to do things that I have done since I was a child. It was a nice time in my life before autism took over my body, and I thought I was normal.

This is not to make you feel sorry for me but to make you understand why Christmas means so much to me. It is a time of family and having fun with friends and neighbors. When else can you do acts of kindness and have it returned right back?

Merry Christmas!

The World According To Me

My life is different than most but I still am happy with it. Autism is a strange disorder in that we understand everything and have no way to show it. This makes some people bitter but I choose not to be. Autism will always be my identity but I am so much more than that.

Did you know that I love hockey?

Or that I am fluent in Italian?

Or that I am going to be an author of children’s books?

Or that I am going to write a documentary about my life with autism?

Or that I know how to do complicated math equations even though no one ever taught me?

Or that I am going to travel to London someday?

Or that I think President Trump is an asshole?

Or that I am doing what I can to show everyone what is possible with autism?

Autism is what you make of it and I choose to make it great.

A Thanksgiving Message…..Eating When You Have Autism

I have many eating issues as a result of my autism. I think that it is so difficult to overcome them. My mom tries very hard to have a well balanced diet for me, but it is challenging to stay on it. I have difficulty with many different textures and tastes. It is hard for me to eat foods that are mushy. They make me feel as if I am swallowing vomit. Sorry to be so graphic! Autism is a strange disorder in that way. My mom helps me to eat vegetables by giving them to me raw instead of cooked. I think you have to be willing to adapt instead of trying to make us “normal”.

I also have issues with stuffing myself to the point of feeling sick. It is hard to stop myself from eating, even if I am full. It is a constant struggle often resulting in me getting aggressive. This is the last thing I want to do, believe me!

I don’t have much advice on how to change it but to be patient and understanding of our struggle. It is not all autistics who have to deal with this but I do and I wish I didn’t. I would love to sit down to a meal and eat what everyone else does.

This Thanksgiving I want to try cranberry sauce. We will see how it goes!

Colors And My World

My world is filled with beautiful images and colors. I think it is because of my autism and it is the best part of having it. Certain sounds or music will make me see amazing pictures in the most beautiful way. They are so distracting that I forget about the world. Autism has a way of doing this to us. It can make me happier than anyone in the world and sadder than any person in the universe. Autism is both a blessing and a curse.

Colors rain down from the sky when I listen to music on my iPod. This is why I wear my headphones all the time. The most beautiful color is red. It is deeper and richer than any red you can see on Earth. Yellow is also a glorious one as well as purple. That is why people with autism love listening to music I guess!

illustration by Gregory Tino

The Boy Who Saved The World, Part 2

Once upon a time there was a boy who wanted to save the world. He took his trusty letterboard in search of someone to save.

The first person he came upon was stopped on the side of the road with a flat tire. “Need some assistance?” he asked. The person said “yes” but they couldn’t figure out how the letterboard could help change the tire. Off the boy went in search of someone else to save.

The second person he came upon was trying to carry a huge suitcase but he couldn’t lift it. “Need some assistance?” the boy asked. “Yes” replied the person, but they couldn’t figure out how to use the letterboard to lift the suitcase. Off the boy went in search of someone else to save.

The third person he came upon was a small autistic girl who couldn’t speak. The girl was so frustrated all she could do was scream and cry. “Need some assistance?” the boy asked. The autistic girl couldn’t even answer yes, but our boy knew just what to do. He used his trusty letterboard to have the autistic girl spell her thoughts one letter at a time. The girl was so relieved she thought she would burst.

This is how the boy saved the world …. at least for the autistic girl. There are plenty more people to save, and the boy is doing it with his trusty letterboard one letter at a time.

The End

It’s Thanksgiving Time

It is that time of year when we give thanks and I have so much to be thankful for.

I am blessed with loving family and friends. I am surrounded by love and laughter in my home. I now have a way to communicate my thoughts. That is the greatest gift in the world. And I have a bright future filled with possibility! This is the definition of Thanksgiving.

What are you thankful for?

More Autism Advice

Today I want to give some more autism advice so people can understand us better. We have difficulty with our bodies but not our mind so treat us age appropriately and talk to us like an adult. I think that people don’t know how to interact with us so they ignore us as if we aren’t there. It is so frustrating when people talk to my mom about me in front of me. I know I can’t answer but please talk to me.

It is also nice when people are interested in what I am doing, except when they ask in a fearful way. Half the time I don’t realize what I am doing myself! My body literally has a mind of its own. I know we can be scary when we are out of control. Most times when I get myself out of control the best thing to do is to remain loving and calm. Berating us for our behavior only adds fuel to the fire. Please don’t ask why we acted that way because we don’t know ourselves.

Autism is so misunderstood, even by the families of people with autism. My own mom and dad struggled with my behavior for many years but now I think they finally understand what to do for me. It took 26 years but better late than never.