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I am a Child WITH Autism

This is a poem written by Kathy Booth. Kathy Booth has taught in the Ramsey School district for over 15 years. She began her career working with children with special needs. To this day, Kathy looks for ways to bring special education into her mainstream classroom. She is currently teaching the Kindergarten Wrap Program at Tisdale Elementary School in Ramsey. Kathy is also the proud mother of two adult children. When her children were grown, she decided to go back to school. In addition to working full time, Kathy is attending graduate school at Montclair State University where she wrote this poem for Professor Wasserman's class entitled Partnerships with Families of Students with Disabilities.

Stop it.
Pop it.
Can’t you see?
This birthday party’s not for me.

The noise, the toys,
the girls, the boys…
why even the candles on the cake,
it’s just too much for me to take.

Why oh why
do I feel this way?
Let’s take a look
at what the experts say.

There was a time
when all seemed right.
I cooed and babbled,
I slept the night.

But like a thief
who steals and runs,
the sounds I made
suddenly were none.

You ask, “How, oh how
could this be?”
Where’s the child
you thought I’d be?

Autism is a disorder
affecting my brain,
loud noises and touching
actually cause me pain.

You may not have noticed
but it is true,
the first few months
I barely looked at you.

Social cues,
I just don’t get,
I have no idea
if or why you’re upset.

A smile, a frown
they all look the same.
I cannot read expressions
nor give them a name.

I don’t try to cuddle
I won’t ask for a hug.
I’m sorting my blocks
as I rock on the rug.

Please don’t use phrases
when speaking to me,
like it’s raining cats and dogs,
I take that literally.

And keep my routines
the same day to day
because when you make changes
I may lose my way.

A tantrum, a meltdown
when things aren’t the same,
it’s the unexpected changes
that are to be blamed.

There are other symptoms
some you can see,
I do not interact
I prefer my own company.

Communicating is tough
conversations hard to maintain,
I do not play pretend
but I love to play trains.

I do not know how
to respond to requests.
Family members might be treated
like strangers or guests.

I see the world
in black and white.
Everyone has the same facts
everything is alright.

I don’t know how
to lie or cheat.
Rules must be followed
and that’s pretty neat.

I cannot see
your point of view.
It’s my way of thinking
that only will do.

I will always say
what is on my mind,
even if sometimes
it is not very kind.

Love and support me
and I do believe
that my world will be filled
with endless possibilities.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.