Recently I passed a McDonald’s and saw six bikes dropped in front. It brought back memories of summer, hanging out with friends and the fun we had going to the pool, the corner store, and McD’s on our bikes. Remember those days?
Now, imagine what your summers would have been like without friends. Boring? Lonely? Yes, to say the least. Imagine starting high school knowing you had not been invited to one sleepover or one birthday party. In fact, you’d been told on Facebook to “F#@* Off! Nobody Likes You. You Have No Friends!” You have just entered the world of a teenager with high-functioning autism.
If you thought high school was difficult, imagine not being able to tell the difference if someone is making a joke or making fun of you, if the laughter behind your back is directed at you.
In response to Kate O’Brian’s concern about moving to SLO County with an autistic son (“Living in their own world,” Aug. 5), I’d like her to know that the teachers and administrators that we have worked with have been fantastic. They understand and care to do all in their power to educate these children in the best environment possible.
To the parents of SLO County, I’d like you to understand the power you have to make the world a better place through your children. Urge them to be who you think they are and to understand that not all disabilities are visible. Perhaps if our autistic son was in a wheelchair, kids would not make fun of him. But he is not, and they do.
Empathy, patience, and kindness will make the world a better place for us all.