Autism Through My Eyes

I still remember the first week at my job at a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Clinic, and my mentor suggested that I try my hand at working in the Early Intervention Program for young children with Autism. And all that rang through my ears was “AUTISM”! I was petrified, how do I say NO. Throughout my education I had a single paper on Autism and it just left me baffled. What is Autism? How do you work with them? 10 years hence I can say, thanks to the brilliant mentors I have had, and the amazing people I have worked with, I definitely know lot more and I love my work. But can anyone, or I truly decode the Spectrum that is Autism.

 

They say you can’t connect, but I see you cry when your mother leaves.

They say you have no emotions, but I hear you laugh when I spin you around.

They say you can’t communicate, but I feel your touch me for more bubbles.

They say you can’t think, but I see you organize and match your toys.

They say you can’t concentrate, but I watch you for hours with your clay.

They say you flap your hands, but I see calm yourself down when you don’t understand.

They say you hit and bite, but I know you are asking for help.

They say you are lost, but like me you are finding a place to belong.

They say you are rigid in you ways, but you are trying to make this unpredictable world of ours predictable.

They say you can’t make friends, but you return to me day after day.

 

Everyday you trust me and everyday I invest in you

Because I am supposed to teach you and train too,

Make sense of your world and help you keep pace.

But it is you who taught me how to embrace

The simple pleasures of life

The first eye contact, the first smile, the first hi.

Tickles and peek-a-boo, kisses and high fives.

Jumping on the trampoline, running bare feet on wet grass

Singing and dancing till you collapse

Collaring and painting with your feet and hands.

Saying no to things we just cant stand

 

You are unique, so innocent and true

Nothing you can hide through you smiles and cries.

I hope you know that I am not trying to change you

Just help you be you,

In a way so that we can join you.

 

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Footnote: Soumini is a developmental psychologist working in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders. She specializes in early intervention for young children and social language communication therapy for older children. Recently she has started working as a Parent Coach to help parents through their personal journeys when bringing up a child with Autism.

4 Comments on Autism Through My Eyes

  1. Surabhi
    April 2, 2016 at 8:06 am (3 years ago)

    Beautifully written ..Soumini..touching to the core

    Reply
  2. Vrishti Kapoor
    April 3, 2016 at 2:57 am (3 years ago)

    Although I’m just an undergraduate so, in no way eligible to understand the depth of your experience of working with children with autism. But, the way you have explained each and every activity as a counter to the stereotypical claims of the world for these little ones, made me recall my experience of working with them as a part of my very first internship at a Therapy Center. Thus, I would very confidently say that this piece of work is doing great justice to its readers and a greater one to those about whom its written.
    Going through the poem, a few words which pinched me were “Because I’m supposed to teach you and train you..” as they immediately gave me a reality check about this society which isn’t brave enough to accept differences and unique ways of being and thus demand these children to be trained and transformed entirely sometimes, curbing their specialities, so as to allot them a ‘respectable space among them’.
    Going further, a few words which literally touched my heart were “I hope you know that I’m not trying to change you
    Just help you be you,
    In a way so that we can join you” because they assured me of the existence of people like you who, rather than fitting these children into the frame of the so called ‘intellectual’ society, try every day to maintain their individuality as well as expand the frame of society to create a recognized position for them.

    Reply
    • Soumini Menon
      April 22, 2016 at 5:06 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your kind words…. and so glad to be able to connect with a person from the same field with similar ideologies.

      Reply

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