Ever since my nephew was born, I would look into his eyes and I could tell there was something up with him. My first inclination came when I realized he would never make eye contact with anyone. It was almost like he was always looking past you, but never right at you. I never said anything to anyone about it at the time, but now thinking back on it, it was the first clue that he had autism.
Several years went by and other clues were revealed. For example, without warning, he would just randomly run off into oncoming traffic. It made babysitting a nightmare. I, however, knew nothing about children and I assumed that all kids did that. I was wrong. At four years old, most kids know that they could get hurt if they did that. My biggest clue was that he never picked up on social cues. He doesn’t understand personal space. He becomes fixated on certain things. He doesn’t understand what’s appropriate and what isn’t, as much as you try to explain it to him.
He is now eight years old and although he is only in third grade, he has been kicked out of several schools. He just recently got suspended for pulling down his pants in the classroom. No matter how many clues are given to my sister, she refuses to admit that her child is autistic. She has had multiple teachers, principals, and school counselor’s tell her this, but she won’t accept it. She looks at the situation like if she admits it, that somehow means that she’s a failed parent. But the only one who is failing is her son.
After doing a substantial amount of research on autism, his behavior started to make sense to me. Although he has never been clinically diagnosed, due to my sister’s reluctance to have him tested, he has all the traits of autism. Autism, however, is a spectrum. I’m obviously not a doctor, but I don’t think he is severely autistic. The more research I did, the more I realized that a lot of the negative things that have happened to him could have
been prevented. There is a program called early intervention that could have significantly helped him, had my sister gotten over her embarrassment of it and dealt with it.