Through The Eyes Of An Autistic Child

I’ve been meaning to write a poem about this extremely sensitive subject for a very long time now, and it wasn’t until now that I was able to formulate the words for this poem. And as someone who has an older brother who is autistic, I know firsthand the problems that autistic children have to face on a daily basis. People don’t seem to understand that children who are autistic are not necessarily “stupid” or “slow.” No, that is sheer ignorance. Children who are autistic are just different, in the sense that they just learn things differently. They are just as intelligent and just as bright as any child, woman, or man out there. They are NOT “retarded,” nor are they “mentally-disabled.” (At least I don’t like to word it that way, ‘cause, to me, these words sound utterly derogatory and inhumane!)

People with autism are capable of doing ANYTHING with their lives, as long as they are treated the way they would like to be treated. And there should be nothing wrong with this. We are all different and built differently anyway. Why should we look down or belittle anyone, just because we “think” that they are less smart or less bright than us? Um, sorry, but that’s being extremely ignorant. If given the proper guidance, autistic individuals can really showcase their talents in a plethora of different ways. Take my brother, for example. His memory is brilliant. If we take him someplace once, he will know exactly how to get there again, without the need for an address or a GPS. And he’ll just look at a tape or an unmarked CD and know EXACTLY what it entails (without the need to test it). It never fails to leave my family and I completely and utterly in awe. Further talents of autistic children are perfectly depicted in the brilliant Bollywood film by Aamir Khan called Taare Zameen Par. As I watched that film, I couldn’t help noticing the similarities between the child and my brother as he was growing up. Except, my brother’s situation wasn’t as extreme, as in some other cases. But the brilliance the child portrays at the end of the film is enough to prove to the world that people with autism are terribly undermined, due to the stigma attached to their being “intellectually-disabled.”

Without further ado, below is my poem. Enjoy!

Mutilated Spirit

They say I am special
But I don’t know whether that is a compliment – or an insult
I look perfectly fine and healthy, like everyone else
I am perfect because I have all my fingers and toes
I am not mutated, nor am I handicapped
And even though I am really smart
I find it difficult to be in school
The teachers speak too fast and the children laugh too loud
And I feel terribly overwhelmed, but I carry on
Because I do not like it when my teachers say I am lazy
I really do try to do what they tell me to do
‘Cept I find it really hard to get started
I can’t help it…
For I am only a mutilated spirit,
Blemished by those who refuse to understand me

I know I get scared easy, but it is not my fault
Loud noises and unfamiliar sounds throws me into fits of panic
But I don’t do this on purpose, because I am not a rebel
I am very habitual and I find comfort in routine. I do not like change.
I like to repeat the same rituals over and over and over again
For it calms and soothes me
I throw tantrums when my routine goes out of sync
And I dwell on it for many hours, days, weeks, and even months
No one can begin to imagine the panic I feel inside,
Over something that may be trivial to someone else
I can’t help it…
For I am only a mutilated spirit,
Blemished by those who refuse to understand me

I like to wear my clothes loose,
For I feel suffocated in clothes that are too snug,
Or shoes that are too tight
I know it upsets my mother whenever she sees my shoelaces untied
For she often gets frustrated and yells at me
And when I cry, she chooses to ignore me
Many people look at me and feel sorry for the way I am,
Which affects my mother,
Who weeps and weeps at night,
And my father, who bows his head in shame and refuses to play with me
They make it seem like I am the plague!
A burden…
If only I could tell them that I am happy the way I am
Because I really am smart and can learn things on my own
I just need more time, for I panic when they try to rush me
I can’t help it…
For I am only a mutilated spirit,
Blemished by those who refuse to understand me

I hear my mother say that I will be cured
“You will not be retarded forever,” she says,
As she smiles nervously through her tears
I am examined by blurred faces in white coats and scary objects
They insert large needles into my soft skin, which makes it hurt bad
I wish they would stop fixing me! I am not sick! I AM NOT A DISEASE!
Yet, they continue to do so, like as if I am their guinea pig
They turn me this way and that way, until I become numb
I’ve come to accept this fate — this reality of mine
It will continue for as long as I am alive
But little do they know that I know as much as they do
I am not dumb, even though I may not say much. I am very smart.
Maybe one day, I will show the world how smart I can be
I am after all only a mutilated spirit,
Blemished by those who refuse to understand me

© January, 2011

2 responses to “Through The Eyes Of An Autistic Child

  1. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often can be reliably detected by age 3. In some cases even earlier than that. Recent studies suggest that kids may eventually be accurately diagnosed by the age of 1 year or even younger. One thing for certain is that if your child shows any of the early warning signs of autism then they should be evaluated by a professional who specializes in autism disorders. Visit my site to learn more about autism signs and symptoms

  2. Pingback: My 10 Books Challenge: Books That Have Impacted Me In One Way Or Another | SesapZai - Artist. Academic. Philanthropist.·

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