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“She Doesn’t Look Autistic”

“She Doesn’t Look Autistic”

What does autism look like?

It looks like mismatched slippers every day.
It looks like refusal to comply.
It looks like obsession over socks being just right.
It looks like dance parties at home but refusing to dance at dance class.

It looks like holding her bladder until she is in a ‘safe space’ where she can finally find relief.

It looks like fighting sleep even though she is past the depths of tiredness.

It looks like food being cut into bite-sized pieces and discarding certain pieces because they don’t pass inspection.

It looks like tossing toys when she is told she has to share with her sister.

It looks like her showing only family how smart she is.

It looks like changing her clothes three times a day.
It looks like a bed piled high with books and stuffies.
It looks like packing her preferred foods when we go to restaurants.
It looks like meltdowns when she doesn’t understand why she can’t have her way.

It looks like stripping off clothes when a single drop of water lands on them.

It looks like a love for repetitively talking about opposites.
It looks like silence and shyness at school and in crowds.
It looks like the need for everything to be predictable.

It looks like a battle when it is time to brush teeth.
It looks like fear, fight, and flight when she is asked to sit on the toilet.

It looks like the inability to understand cause and effect.
It looks like sitting in the shopping cart even though others her age can walk through the store.
It looks like running in parking lots and towards roads without knowledge of danger.

It looks like having a ‘security toy’ when in public.

It looks like parents who ‘don’t discipline.’
It looks like wearing a crown and tutu every day.
It looks like singing Happy Birthday to her at every birthday party we go to.
It looks like ripped-out ponytails in an attempt to regulate herself, resulting in messy hair.

It looks like ear-splitting squeals when she is joyful.
It looks like gut health issues.

It looks like hoarding her favorite toys and carrying them with her from room to room in our home.
It looks like OCD and the need for all of our doors in our home to be shut.
It looks like a brand-specific diet of the same six foods.
It looks like locks on closets to keep her out of them.
It looks like the occasional happy or anxious hand flaps.
It looks like appointments, forms, checklists, meetings, and therapy.

This is what autism looks like for my daughter, Lexi.
It looks different for each individual. There aren’t any ‘markers’ or physical characteristics.
On the outside, you can’t see it. You have to look for it in behaviors and mannerisms.

What does autism look like in your life?

Written by Elissa McFarland of Life with Lexi 

The post “She Doesn’t Look Autistic” appeared first on Finding Cooper's Voice | Welcome to the Secret World of Autism.

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