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WHAT AUTISM MEANS TO ME
by Caspian & Lynne Banki
When Caspian was in the 1st grade, his teachers suggested I consider telling his classmates that he had autism. I was given a number of presentation materials to choose from. The options at the time had such an 'us' vs 'them' feel to them. I wanted Caspian's classmates to understand that people have the same feelings, but that we get to those feelings differently. For example, we are all overwhelmed at times. What overwhelms my son and how he responds to being overwhelmed may be very different from others; but it is the same feeling.
Autism is so different from person to person. So many presentations generalized autism in ways that were not applicable to my son. So we worked on a presentation that talked about what autism meant to him specifically. We called it his 'science project', and we presented our spiral bound copy of his artwork and comments to the class.
Caspian is now in his 20's, and he is writing a complementary book expanding on
What Autism Means to him in his college years.
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Word spread, and families asked for copies to show to their children's classes. Enough people asked for a copy of his spiral-bound science project that we spent the next 3 years turning it into a book with updated drawings and comments from people in Caspian's life. The book spawned a whole new focus for me: teaching classrooms about Autism as a Difference.