Autism is a brain development disorder that impacts the brains ability to process information by altering how nerve cells and their synapses organize. It is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. The ways to tell if a child has autism is through a lack or delay of spoken language, little to no eye contact, lack of interest in peer relationships, lack of spontaneous play and a fixation on parts of objects. Aspergers ( affects the ability to effectively socialize and communicate)and Rett syndrome (affects brain development for girls)also fall under the autism spectrum disorder
I never felt like Autism really impacted me until one day, when I was channel surfing and I came across a show on MTV around 2010 called “World of Jenks.” Andrew Jenks is a filmmaker who would move in with a new stranger each week to experience a week in their life. Jerks was intent on capturing “what this generation thinks, how they act and what they ultimately stand for,”. Well he sure captured Chads life. Chad, who is now 23 years old was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD. Watching Chad go through his daily life while also being an empath, I felt for him. Seeing how anxious he’d get with simple activities such as walking down the street or going to the grocery store would overwhelm him because it would be a sensory overload, meaning it would be too loud or there would be just too many things going on at once. When the show ended I too (like all the other viewers) had a special place in my heart for not only chad, but the many individuals suffering with autism. I had never paid attention to this disorder before this show but now I was determined to learn more about it. some places now are autism friendly, adopting quiet hours in grocery stores.
Fast forward a few years and now I’m working with children, toddlers at that and I’m getting to witness first hand the symptoms of autism. As someone with a psychology degree with a focus on childhood education, observing these children daily is a joy and can sometimes be a task. I love to see how each child develops their own personality, how they interact with their peers, how they choose to communicate and how they learn. I notice that some of the children pick up information very quickly, often imitating me and the other teachers, which amazes me because sometimes I forget they are like little sponges, soaking up information, phrases and things they see and spitting it back out at us. On the other hand I am also aware of the children ,that by 2 are not communicating or interacting with their peers like they should be or that prefer to be alone playing with the same toys everyday, or the ones that throw excessive tantrums because they have trouble communicating what they want . Nevertheless don’t get it twisted, these children are very smart and intelligent so don’t let them fool you. I’ve observed that a lot of them learn best through technology and videos. We all learn and retain information different ways but what matters is having the patience and understanding that comes with being a teacher to a child with autism. I have love for all my babies because they are all special and unique in their own ways.