Friday, August 5, 2011

I have special needs because . . .

Jack & Cookie
I have Autism. I am not like other children. I am not able to filter the sounds, motions, smells and activities going on around me. I do not like to change from one activity to another. I get very frustrated when I'm asked to stop doing what I'm focusing on and move to something else. My teacher (and my mom!) has to give me several advance warnings that a change is coming soon, or I will lose it. It is not a tantrum and I am not misbehaving. I am on overload, and when I am on overload my brain kind of short-circuits and I lose control of my behavior.

I do not like things that happen suddenly. I can't go to a 3D movie because I'm afraid things will pop out at me unexpectedly and startle me. I can't make toast for myself cause I'm afraid of the toaster. You just never know when the bread will pop up and it makes me anxious.

I do not like the way some things feel. I have difficulty washing my own hair or my hands, because I do not like the feel of the soap. I tell my mom, "It makes me feel like I'm going to die." Nothing she can say makes it any better.

I do not like to tie my shoes. I can do it, but it's really hard and takes a long time. Sometimes my mom has to help me tie a double knot, so my shoes will stay tied all day. I always try to slip them on and off without ever having to untie them.

I do not understand when people tease me. It hurts me and makes me sad when they call me a "loser" or say mean things to me. My mom tries to explain that sometimes people are just playing with words and they don't mean to be hurtful, but sometimes I still cry. I don't know what to answer when they say their mean words, so sometimes I just say nothing at all. Or say the worst thing I can think of, which is usually a bad word and then I get in trouble for using bad words.

I can't eat the same things that other people eat. Aside from having an allergy to cow's milk, things that other people think are tasty and delicious smell terrible to me. I only like plain things (white rice, grilled cheese, a quesadilla with only cheese, spaghetti with red sauce without any chunks in it, a hot dog with no ketchup or mustard). Things with a funny texture, taste or smell can make me gag, so I don't like trying new things. I stick with what I know. My mom worries that I don't eat enough.

I am terrified of bugs! I can't walk barefoot on the grass, because there could be bugs. Also the grass feels funny. I never go barefoot outside, even on the patio. I don't like the way it feels. Also about the bugs? I get upset when a fly comes in the house. I don't like the way they buzz up close to you and fly around your head. It makes me panic. Once there was a fly in the car and my mom had to stop the car and get it out. I wasn't able to deal with the fly in the car. I hate bugs.

I like school mostly. I have nice friends there and I like to talk to them at recess. But sometimes my teacher wants me to do things I don't understand or things that are boring. She talks and talks, but sometimes her words don't get into my head. Sometimes they just land around my desk and I don't know what they mean.

The thing I hate most about school is homework. After being in school for seven hours (that's a really long time), trying to be on good behavior and pay attention to all the things I'm supposed to be doing, I'm really tired. My brain is tired. The thought of coming home and doing more school is really terrible to me. Sometimes I get in the car at the end of the day and cry because I have too much homework, even though it's the same as everyone else. I just feel overwhelmed by it. That's why I always try to finish my homework at school, so I don't have to take it home and do more school. Last year my teacher would let me stay a few minutes after school to finish my homework so I didn't have to take it home. Then I would call my mom, who was already in the parking lot waiting for me, and say, "I'm not in trouble or anything," cause I know she worries about that stuff, "but is it okay if I stay after and finish my homework?" She always says yes.

I need to have special PE, cause anything competitive is upsetting to me. My doctor says I have a "low tolerance for frustration," so it's easy for me to get frustrated when I'm not good at things. When my PE teacher tells me, "RUN, Jack!" it feels like she is yelling at me and I don't like it. Running is hard for me. I'm kind of awkward. I'm very tall and skinny for my age, but I am not athletic. I don't enjoy sports, but I'm really good at video games and doing stuff on the computer.

I have special needs, but I am still a special person. I am very loving, affectionate, funny and smart. I love my two dogs, Buddy and Cookie, so much that sometimes when I hug them I get tears in my eyes and say, "Why are my eyes watering?" I love my mom and dad and my grandma, who lives with us. I love Jesus and God and all my friends. And especially Cookie and Buddy. They don't care that I have special needs.

Jack & Buddy


  1. Thanks, Deb! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Debbie K.

  2. Thank you for a very moving and enlightening post. What a lovely boy. It has helped me to understand how my daughter, who has AS, is feeling, when she is finding it hard to explain to me. Very grateful.

  3. Thank you all for your kind comments. It means a lot to mean that other people "get it."