Posted on Leave a comment

The Child Who Doesn’t Conform

When a child responds with immediate compliance to a parent’s request, it certainly seems to make the day go smoother. If the kids on the playground all run with the pack (and not against it), the social interactions for those children seem to be more at ease, less conflictual. When all of the students in the classroom follow their teacher’s instructions without dawdling or questioning the teacher’s reasoning, yup, that seems to make things feel a little easier, at least for the grownup, too. Currently, in most settings in most children’s lives, conformity seems to be valued and demanded even. Yet, there are some children who just don’t seem to conform.

Inconvenient Isn’t Always Problematic

The kids who don’t conform are the most likely to get labeled problematic. We often go into “fix-it” mode— wanting to change the child who seems to be in the world differently than same-age peers. At times though, we may be trying to fix something simply because of our own grownup desires for convenience. Sometimes, those children with different ways of being in and viewing the world grow into adults who will lead society to advance in unexpected ways.  

It’s April, which is Autism awareness month. Autism is a very good example of something that was once viewed as a condition warranting a solution and/or cure and those with Autism are often viewed as non-conformists. However, the contemporary viewpoint seems to be one of acceptance. Consequently, it focuses on supporting the child in finding ease and success in their life and addresses the environment as the most appropriate place for intervention. This is different than just treating the child’s symptoms, though that may also be helpful.

Allowing for Uniqueness 

In honor of Autism Awareness month and in support of the misunderstood non-conformist child, I share a quote. Samantha Berger, author of the children’s book, “Rock What Ya Got!”, is, presumably, in support of leaving room for people to be uniquely them:

“Everyone has their own special thing— find what is yours, and bring what you bring… Find your own voice and sing how you sing. Find your own OOMPH! Find your own ZING! Be your best you, and rock what ya got. Don’t let anyone say what you’re not. Live in this world and make your own spot. Take what you’ve got and rock it— A  LOT!” -Samantha Berger, “Rock What Ya Got!”

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Share This:
Posted on Leave a comment

ASD Girls: It is only a special part of who you are

ASD, Autism Awareness,

As a sister to a person with autism, I feel very fortunate to be able to write this post during the month of April—Autism Awareness Month! Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is classified as a neurodevelopmental disability, meaning symptoms appear during early developmental periods (18 months- 6 years). The most common characteristics of autism include social communication difficulties. The prevalence has nearly doubled since 2004, shifting rates from 1 in 125 children in the United States to 1 in 68, and 1 in 54 among boys. While there is no known single cause of ASD, research suggests early supports and services improve long-term outcomes.

National Autism Awareness Month, first developed by the Autism Society, was created to spread awareness of the condition. Since then it has expanded to promote acceptance, appreciation, and inclusion. Autism Awareness Month has been celebrated in many ways, including #LIUB (i.e., light it up blue), by wearing blue, or using blue outdoor lightbulbs.

At the Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in November, 2017, participants focused on particular challenges for women and girls with disabilities. This year, the United Nations made a commitment to empowerment. Namely, the UN is discussing forms of discrimination and other unique barriers among women and girls with ASD with key stakeholders and policy makers. Some examples of these barriers include access to education, lower rates of employment, greater likelihood of physical and psychological violence, and inadequate sexual and reproductive health services.

Emily, 23, describes her own perspective on discrimination:

“Due to my autism diagnosis, I felt discriminated against myself in employment, and that made me feel like an outsider. I felt like I was a freak because of my autism. Eventually, I learned that everyone should be protected from discrimination in the work force. We are all created equally, regardless of our weaknesses, disabilities, race, religion, sexual preferences, etc. Had I not realized that, I probably never would have gotten where I am today – working two part-time jobs.”

When asked about practical ways people without ASD can empower girls on the spectrum, Emily identified the struggles of communication with “neurotypicals,” and offered some advice:

“Though acquiring social graces always seems to have their obstacles, no one should give up so easily. People often believe that if you’re different from them, they wouldn’t accept you as a friend. Discrimination, especially against a person with a mental disorder, is one of the greatest challenges that we face. As hurtful and cruel as it may be, it happens. Don’t let doubts, fear, and uncertainty get in the way. Autism doesn’t define you as a person; it is only a special part of who you are.”

Spread Autism Awareness:

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting pediatric professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by: Megan Beardmore, MA; PhD Candidate in School Psychology

 

 

Share This: