I often say that I blog for myself, that it is it is a way for me to sort through my thoughts and at times vent about what is bugging me. But I must confess that there is another reason. Deep down, I hope that blogging about autism will make a difference in some small way.
I don’t normally expect to hear about how my blogging helps people. Even small incremental changes in awareness would be enough for me.
But last week, I received a message that blew me away. My friend Matthew sent me a message about an experience he had. I asked his permission to share the message, not to pat myself on the back, but to encourage all the other autism and disability bloggers out there.
This is what Matthew said:
Today at an amusement park here in Michigan, I was in line waiting to buy some lunch. Behind me I heard odd random loud noises being shouted from someone. For some reason I thought of your autism blog and I thought, “Perhaps that individual has autism so don’t turn around and stare or look for the culprit, just go about your day.”
So a little further in line I was able to see the person and I’m pretty confident he did indeed have autism. Anyways, a few more minutes pass and I move farther in line to where we’re actually standing right by each other except there was a railing between us. So I was leaning on the railing and suddenly I feel two hands on my shoulders and then I turn and the boy is laying his head on my left shoulder.
Again, thinking of your autism blog posts and autistic behaviour, I simply smiled and said, “Hey there! how are you?” He sorta smiled (he was mostly avoiding eye contact) and gave me a sort of half hug. I then asked, “Are you having fun today?” And his mother looks at him and encourages him to respond. He responds with “Fun!!” And gave us both a good laugh.
I wanted to share this story with you because I’ve learned so much about autism from you and your blog. You help me understand ASD a little better and that’s why I felt so at ease around this boy today, whereas 5-10 years ago I may have felt uncomfortable! So thank you very much and keep up the awesome work!
This makes it all worth it. I can imagine what it was like to be that boys mother and have a stranger respond in such a friendly and natural way. Thank you Matthew for the encouragement.