Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Silent Ones

by Kimberly Kovacich

Do you ever wonder what goes on in the minds of others? What if the mild mannered waitress, who day after day stifles her true emotions, was to tell her customers how rude she actually thought they were? Every time a speaker steps behind a podium and speaks to a group of yawning individuals, I wonder how much he wishes he could alter his speech and jar them awake. What if we tried a little harder to put ourselves in the shoes of others and practiced showing them the empathy we would so warmly welcome? If a person is unable to ask for understanding and patience, do they deserve it any less? 

I imagine that people with Autism deal with the poor treatment of others on a daily basis. It is, more than likely, a common occurrence for them to overhear others talking about them as if they aren't even there. Now I'm not saying that all people in the world are callous and choose to treat others with this illness in a poor manner; I'm just recognizing the fact that these individuals are often treated as "lesser than." What if we were given the chance to see into the minds of those with this illness? Well, a boy by the name of Philip has done just that. He has given us a glimpse into his mind and has honestly expressed his thoughts and emotions. When asked why he finds it so difficult to make eye contact with others, he graciously tries to shed some light on this misconception. 

A woman with an autistic nephew is finding it difficult to communicate with him. She wonders why he finds it so difficult to make eye contact or why he insists on constantly moving. She expresses this in a blog which is available to those who have these special individuals in their lives. The response from an autistic boy by the name of Philip is both heartwarming and enlightening. 

Philip writes, "I am letting you know about eye contact. My eyes see very well. Most people seem to need to have to look long and hard to make sense of a picture. I can take in a whole picture at a glance. Each day I see too many little petty details. I look away to not get overwhelmed by a lot of little bits of information. I watch things that a teacher or person I listen to tells me to watch. This helps me concentrate on what I should be focusing on. I can search for a teacher's voice to try to focus on. I am academically learning best when I sit side-by-side with a teacher. A seat on the side keeps me focused on your voice and not on visual distractions. I am assessing many sounds too. I have to erase some stimuli to access my answers to people's questions and meet their demands. That is why I don't make eye contact. I am always listening. I listen to a lot of voices. I so love when people talk to me and are not talking like I am not there. I am active because I am unable to feel my body well. People think I am being rude, but I can't help it. I need to move to feel my body, but sitting down at least helps me not walk away from you. Please peacefully talk to your nephew. Let him know you understand. I am sad when people think I don't like them. I love people.  Love, Philip.
~Taken from a post on Facebook: Faith, Hope, and Love....with Autism.

I hope this has helped you as much as it has me. We all have love to give, some may just find it a little more difficult to express it. 


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