How do you answer this? Of course I know what Autism is, I just have a hard time explaining to anyone that asks.
Last December we went to my Aunt's house for the family Christmas party. We did not have a diagnosis yet, even though we knew what diagnosis we were going to receive. Most of the family members at the party did not know anything was wrong with Connor other than a speech delay. So as Connor was more disregulated, we got those looks that said, You need to control your kid. and He sure is high spirited isn't he? We didn't stay too long as it was just too much to handle for all of us. We went through and said our Good byes and my uncle chimes in, "Dortha, he reminds me why I don't have anymore kids at my age."
"Yeah, I wouldn't have the energy, even when they weren't being bad."
Fast forward to now. My uncle lives in another state but has come home for a funeral. It was just my Grandmother, Aunt, Uncle and Mother in the car and evidently he had been clued in to what was going on.
"So what is wrong with Connor?" he asks.
"He has autism." my Mom explains. Thinking that that says it all.
"Yeah, but what exactly is Autism?"
She was lost for words on how to explain, just as I find I am at times.
My uncle isn't a mean person and didn't mean to hurt any ones feelings with what he had said at the party. He honestly did not understand and I didn't take time to explain. My Grandmother found an article in People magazine about a celebrity that has an autistic son and has some idea now. However, I can't throw an article at everyone who asks.
I wonder how to explain so as not to use words like, receptive, proprioceptive, vestibular and modulation. Also how do I explain without it sounding like I'm singing that old Hee Haw song;
“Gloom, despair and agony on me,
Deep, dark depression, Excessive misery,
If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all,
Gloom, despair and agony on me”
So long explanation made into a short question. How do tell people what Autism is?