What ‘messages’ are our autistic children hearing - from ourselves, from other parents, at school, from media and in the general community? And what are the 'take home’ learnings, spoken or unspoken, they are internalizing from these messages? Cadence’s sensory differences means she hears, sees and observes every detail around her - every conversation, every sight, every smell; as many autistic children do. This 'conversation’, between Cadence and myself, started under her teachers desk - a 'safe place’ where Cadence had put herself in her confusion that she was somehow 'bad’ - a belief that had culminated from over-hearing other parents and hearing news stories.
Image description: A piece of paper covered in a handwritten conversation between an autistic child named Cadence and their parent. Cadence’s writing is in pencil and their parent’s writing is in blue pen.
Cadence: Does being autism make me bad? Parent: What makes you wonder if being Autism makes you bad? Cadence: grownups always say its hard being mum or dad if your kid is autism and it said on the tv if your autism you hurt people. And kids who are autism have to be put in a gale [jail] to keep others safe or tied up. Parent: Do you think I believe these things are true, or that I would say them? Cadence: [in large letters] NO! Parent: What do you believe? Cadence; I dont like hurting people. I don like being scard. I would be scard in a gail room. I was born autism but that [underlined for emphasis] doesn’t mean I was born bad. Cadence: Are you crying? Parent: Yes. I have happy tears that you know what is true; and I have sad tears because there are lots of people who don’t know what is true.