A recent article published by the Huffington Post, titled “My Son Has the Kind of Autism No One Talks About” sheds light on the many forms that Autism takes. “The media shows us all of the feel-good stories, like the child with autism who gets to be the manager of the high school basketball team, or the boy with autism who goes to the prom with the beautiful girl, or the girl with autism who is voted onto the homecoming court. We light it up blue every April and pat ourselves on the back for being so aware.

But we aren’t aware.

Because for every boy with autism who manages his high school basketball team, there are 20 boys with autism who smear feces. And for every girl with autism who gets to be on the homecoming court, there are 30 girls with autism who pull out their hair and bite their arms until they bleed. And for every boy with autism who gets to go the prom, there are 50 boys with autism who hit and kick and bite and hurt other people.

This is the autism that no one talks about. This is the autism that no one wants to see.”

Our amazing Program Manager, Erin LaVine, shared her thoughts about the article as it relates to camp and True Friends.
Erin L. with Camper“As someone who is one of the first to share stories of people with disabilities achieving great feats, I find this article wonderfully written and eye opening.

Each summer I have the honor of welcoming countless campers, with countless abilities to camp. I get to watch campers use the waterside, climb the high ropes, make friends, do archery and perform in the talent show… but I also get to support the campers and staff in behavior management, personal cares and cleaning! I have been bit, hit, kicked, called a variety of colorful words, had feces smeared on and around me, supported staff on the verge of tears and ran faster than I thought my chubby legs could move to ensure the safety of a camper.

It has been difficult for me to share these stories with friends and family members who have never worked/seen someone who has behaviors. It is hard for them understand how I can have unconditional love for someone who has caused me physical pain… but this article encourages me to try harder to have people understand behaviors and autism. I know that when someone hits or bites, that they have a need or want they are unable to communicate, and I need to make sure that is the message I am relaying.

PS- this article also reminds me how amazing my young staff are! All my little millennials, who give their summers to kids and adults who might kick, bite, punch and throw feces them. They are able to see campers for who they are and not their behaviors and it is a truly beautiful thing.”