Kindly Excuse Me!
Autism awareness has been on the rise for a long time. Being autistic is associated with several challenges such as repetitive behaviors, social skills, verbal, and nonverbal communication. Autism presents differently in different people, for instance, a child diagnosed with both intellectual disability and autism will face more challenges and experience severe symptoms compared to an autistic child with normal intelligence. Autism is not a physical disability, and it is hard to tell if a person is autistic unless you notice the above-mentioned characteristics.
“This is my little family on holiday to Spain back in June. The sunflower lanyard around my neck is not a new fashion trend. This is a symbol at airports to alert staff that a passenger has a hidden disability and may need adjustments made for them. For example at Malaga airport a security guard spotted the lanyard around my neck and escorted us straight through to special assistance so that we didn’t have to queue to get through security. For children who like to line things up ironically a lot of autistic children find queuing impossible. Supermarkets are now trialling the use of sunflowers lanyards too. I hope that more places will follow suit. My message is if you see someone wearing a sunflower lanyard just be aware that they or someone with them may have a hidden disability. They may not be throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get to have a biscuit. They are likely having a complete sensory meltdown – not by choice but because they are overwhelmed. Perhaps you could do a good deed and allow them to jump ahead of you in the queue. Or allow them a little more space. I’m not saying we need preferential treatment or to bend the rules – I am saying sometimes small adjustments can and should be made and will go a long way to making that family’s experience a little easier that day. Please tell people about the sunflower lanyard scheme – sharing is caring. And the more people who are aware the more awareness will be raised. #autism #autismawareness #mumofautisticboy #hiddendisability“
Being Accepted as an Autistic person
Acceptability is the main key when dealing with autistic children. Kim Baker is a mother with an autistic child. Autism does not always hinder a child from learning or being creative. Interestingly, the world’s greatest physician was autistic. As a child who lives with autistic children, accept them, and teach them how to carry out simple activities like playing with toys.
Make the Environment Bearable
It is almost impossible for a person living with Autism to stay calm or settle in one place. In her story, Kim Baker explains that she wore a sunflower lanyard around her neck to show that she needs special treatment at the airport. Children with autism find it difficult to do certain things such as queuing at the supermarket or at the airport. Excuse them by letting them and their parents pass and access any service they need.
Understanding and Love
Love is the greatest gift you can award to anyone especially children with autism. As a child, you may notice that your classmate or neighbor throws tantrums almost every time. Do not assume that they want a snack, most times they need attention because they are at a mental meltdown. Once you understand them, loving them will naturally bring itself.
Sharing is caring. Kim Baker’s story is an inspiration to not only children, but also adults. Coexistence is a life skill for all to adopt because everyone is different. Learn to love and understand children with autism and avoid judging people when they behave in a certain way. Adopt strategies that favor children with autism.