I want to tell you a little bit about my friend A. He’s a preschooler that I worked with for a practicum last year.
A LOVES trains. I mean, he really loves them. He loves playing with toy trains, books about trains, and my poor imitation of a train whistle.
A loves bear hugs. The tighter the better. You can squeeze him tight and he won’t mind. He loves squeezing right back.
A pats my hair, just to show me he cares.
A loves being spun around FAST! He won’t complain if you lose your balance and you both fall down. He just giggles and raises his arms for more.
A loves cookies, chips, frosted cheerios, and fruit.
A isn’t crazy about puzzles, but will play with them if you want to.
A thinks crayons are more fun to taste than to color with.
A loves the sensory table full of macaroni. He will gleefully run his fingers through it for as long as you let him.
A loves the musical instruments center. He likes the tambourine because it’s fun to bang.
A sounds like every other preschool boy, right?
Well, A has autism.
He is just like every other preschool boy, except he has autism.
He is a person, not a condition.
I’ve noticed something that drives me crazy.
People often refer to people with special needs by their special need. They say things like “that autistic boy” or “that wheelchair girl”.
They are people FIRST.
People just like you and me, that just happen to be a little different.
They like the same things you and I like, they want the same things you and I want.
So please, use language like “A, who has autism” or “my friend S is in a wheelchair”.
A person is a person, no matter what.