Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Illustrations from an autism mom: Coffee tables aren't hot

The post below is by Lisa Smith, the mother of seven children, two with special needs. Her son Tate has autism. Lisa blogs about her experiences and can be found on Facebook at Quirks and Chaos or at

When you hear the word “autism” where do your thoughts go? Does your mind start whirring through words or acronyms associated with an autism diagnosis? Do you think of: echolalia, stims, meltdowns, an IEP or SPD? Upon hearing the word “autism” a lot of us would picture a loved one and some of the stereotypic behaviors demonstrated by him or her. The word “autism” probably conjures up things in my mind that are not necessarily brought to your mind at all. I think of my son Tate and some of his unique quirks and stims. I think of his anxiety, his lack of social awareness and his literal way of thinking. In my mind, this is what autism looks like:

Social awareness and how to treat others is a daily theme. Tact is not easy to teach and when it has to be taught in each individual setting it becomes very challenging. I constantly remind myself that Tate is not intentionally rude. He genuinely does not understand what is socially acceptable and what is not in many situations. 

Then there's the literal way of thinking that is both endearing and at times maddening.

Tate keeps our home lively and interesting to say the least. A sense of humor is a must when teaching Tate. Laughter is a huge part of who we are. I've found the cartoons encourage and teach, as well as lighten the mood when autism tries to darken it. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Tate likes seeing himself as the star of the show in these illustrations. 

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.