A 7 year old with autism moved her mum to tears by penning a letter explaining how she understands that, despite what she hears, “autism doesn’t mean I’m bad”.
Cadence from Queensland, Australia, revealed in the note that she picks up more of what’s being said around her than her mum ever realised.
Recently, she hid under her teacher’s desk at school – somewhere she goes when she wants to feel safe – after overhearing stories about how children with autism “hurt people” and “need to be tied up”.
The letter reads:
“Cadence: Does being autism make me bad?
Mum: What makes you wonder if being autism makes you bad?
Cadence: Grown ups always say it’s hard being mum or dad if your kid is autism and it said on the TV if you are autism you hurt people. And kids who are autism have to be put in a gaol to keep others safe or tied up.
Mum: Do you think I believe those things are true, or that I would say them?
Mum: What do you believe?
Cadence: I don’t like hurting people. I don’t like being scared. I was born autism but that doesn’t mean I was born bad…
Are you crying?
Mum: Yes. I have happy tears that you know what is true and I have sad tears because there are lots of people who don’t know what is true.”
Sharing a picture of the letter on Facebook, Cadence’s mum Angela posted:
“What ‘messages’ are children hearing – from ourselves, from other parents, at school, from media and in the general community? And what are the ‘take home’ learnings, spoken or unspoken, they are internalising from these messages?
Cadence’s sensory differences means she hears, sees and observes every detail around her – every conversation, every sight, every smell; as many autistic children do. This ‘conversation’, between Cadence and myself, started under her teachers desk – a ‘safe place’ where Cadence had put herself in her confusion that she was somehow ‘bad’ – a belief that had culminated from over-hearing other parents and hearing news stories.”
Angela’s post touched a lot of parents and one user said that people need to understand children with autism better.
“I have been there overhearing other parents and children speaking in a negative manor about children with autism,” she commented. “The awareness is lacking, the compassion is lacking .The understanding of how intelligent these children are doesn’t seem to be highlighted anywhere. Some parents are so afraid being confused that they act out with hatred and ignorance. There needs to be a shift in thought process.”
Photos: Facebook / I am Cadence