Experience of Journey of Autism: Memoir Essay

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Bradley was just three years old when his parents, Tim and Carrie, began noticing how different he was compared to other kids. While other children were able to have a full conversation, his vocabulary was limited to almost eighteen words. He was a sweet kid but didn’t interact with other children, never made eye contact, and never wanted to be touched. Bradley was high-functioning, with a high level of intelligence, but he also showed social, behavioral, and language differences. His parents couldn’t seem to figure out what was wrong with him and didn’t know what they needed to do. After careful consideration, they decided to take him to see a doctor. The doctors explained that Bradley had a disorder known as Autism Spectrum Disorder. He would be okay, but he would need help getting certain things done. He would need more attention and an extra push that most students or children may not need. His parents felt that they were not prepared for something like this, so they began to panic. They felt as if they were alone, and left to do it on their own. They didn’t know if there were schools that accepted autistic kids, or if people would actually understand what he was going through. They knew if they didn’t know much about the disorder, neither did anyone else. After researching all they can they decided to help make people more aware. They knew they needed a safe place to go for guidance, somewhere safe for their child to learn, and knew that people needed to be more aware of the disorder.

It is important to understand what autism really is because you never know how many people it can affect around you and in your community. Autism is a neurological disorder that affects someone's verbal, and non-verbal communication, and their social interactions. One way to allow your community to be more aware of autism is by having events, programs, and services for autistic people. You can even do an event for people that are not autistic but would like to learn what it means to be autistic, and how to help. If you aren’t able to find any events or organizations near you, create your own event! The Autism Society provides a list of over 100 different affiliates in about every state. They may end up sponsoring your meetings and your event. Another way to help inform your community about autism is by using social media. Social media reaches millions of people all around the world. Snapchat, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter can help you spread awareness on the topic, can help gain interest in an event you’re hosting, and can create a positive place for people with autism. Share posts of you telling someone's story, or telling how an autistic person changed your life. Share positive photos that you’ve taken with them. Do absolutely anything to bring positive awareness to the spectrum.

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When caring for a child with autism, you want them to be as comfortable as possible in the setting that they are learning in. It is important to select the right school for your child because they need to feel safe, and protected. Selecting a school for a child on the spectrum, especially one who requires more attention, like Bradley, is a big responsibility. Most parents prefer to put their children in private schools specifically designed to help children with that disability, but this doesn’t mean your child can not succeed in a public school. Some people argue that children attending private schools for autistic kids only interact or socialize with other kids with autism. Most private schools try to provide opportunities for autistic kids to socialize with the public. It is all based on which setting makes your child more comfortable. Is your child comfortable being around people who don’t have autism, or would they rather be around people just like them? Joel Yanofsky states, “Arrange a visit. Ask to see the school in action. Observe the classroom, as well as the other students and the teacher your child might be with. Be sure to meet with the principal, too.” She uses this quote to show us what to look for in a school before choosing it. Take notes and observe how the school works. Maybe even bring your child along so you can see if they can adapt to the environment. Make sure the school is acceptable and suitable for your child and their individual needs. Some great schools that are often talked about include Kendall School & Therapeutic Pathways, New Hope Academy, Niles in Illinois, the Ivymount School, and the May Center for Child Development Schools. There are tons of schools that could help your child branch out and grow.

When a child is diagnosed with any disorder, especially autism, it is important to provide help and support for the parents just as much as the child. As a parent, you are not alone. There are all kinds of support groups for families, especially parents, that have a loved one with autism. A diagnosis of autism is never easy for the parents or the child. A safe place to go to for support will help you learn how to manage your feelings and emotions when faced with the challenges of raising a child with autism. Support groups like Autism Speak, GRASP, or Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support Center are good, strong networks and groups that will make dealing with an autistic child less frustrating, less confusing, and safer. Make sure when choosing a support group, you choose one that suits your needs. A peer-led support group is formed to give and receive advice from other parents of children with autism. An Education support group is focused on providing the latest information on the disorder to other members of the group. Professionally-led support groups are led and funded by organizations that focus on autism. Choose a group that is centered around what you struggle with because there are several others who struggle with the same thing. Autism Parenting Magazine notes that “Finding a support group in your location is now made easy with a quick Google search. Simply type ‘autism support group’ followed by your city or location.” They are showing you that you can find a support group as easy as typing it up on your computer, and typing your location. Support groups are available everywhere, just make the push to get out there.

As a teenager, I go to school with a few autistic or special needs students. I would see my peers look at these autistic students and wonder why they are the way they are. They didn’t understand what autism really was. I began to notice that not many people are truly aware of what autism is and how it affects the community. I relate to this because, at some point in my life, I would just look past it. I didn’t think autism was that big of a deal. Until one day, I was asked to attend Special Olympics. An event that allowed the community to come out and support the students with special needs while they compete in different athletic events. It was there that I began to understand the effects and how important it is. I feel so deeply about this topic because I want to learn everything I can about kids with special needs, specifically autism. I want to become an ABA therapist, and potentially open my own therapy home. I want people to be aware of the disorder. For people to understand it. I picked this topic because not only does it hold a special place in my heart, but I can see it in my future, and I wish to pursue that.  

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Experience of Journey of Autism: Memoir Essay. (2023, October 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/experience-of-journey-of-autism-memoir-essay/
“Experience of Journey of Autism: Memoir Essay.” Edubirdie, 27 Oct. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/experience-of-journey-of-autism-memoir-essay/
Experience of Journey of Autism: Memoir Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/experience-of-journey-of-autism-memoir-essay/> [Accessed 15 Apr. 2024].
Experience of Journey of Autism: Memoir Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Oct 27 [cited 2024 Apr 15]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/experience-of-journey-of-autism-memoir-essay/

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