Understanding Autism: if I didn’t have you…

I wrote this poem when I was completing my Master of Education (MEd) with a focus  on supporting educators in understanding the experience of students with autism.

This writing represents a growing awareness that I should not be judgmental when others do not understand the perspective of those on the Autism spectrum.  Instead of feeling resentful – or somehow more enlightened – I became motivated to get to work and take a role in increasing this understanding for everyone. Acceptance, after all, goes both ways!!             

If I didn’t have you

My eyes would not be open

They don’t have you

can they be expected

To just know

Your perspective(s)

Your experience

Has altered my world

And now


We are changing

The world  

(Maybe just a little piece of it)

And making a difference

                       L.Kelley, Fall 2009

April is Autism Awareness month… Please Spread Understanding!


30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.

© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2011)

About Leah Kelley, Ed.D.

Leah Kelley, M.Ed, Ed.D., Writer, Consultant, Activist, Speaker, and Educator, working with Teacher Candidates at UBC. Authors blog: 30 Days of Autism. Projects support social understanding, Neurodiversity paradigm, Disability Justice, and connecting Disability Studies in Education(DSE)to Educational Practice. Twitter: @leah_kelley Facebook: 30 Days of Autism: Leah Kelley
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1 Response to Understanding Autism: if I didn’t have you…

  1. Margo says:

    Thank you! I really appreciate H’s perspectives! He is so sharp and quick to learn but this doesn’t necessarily show in a “normal” social setting. I teach elementary math online in a virtual classroom environment. In one class, I have 2 kids with ASD out of 8 and in another I have 1 out of 8. Online, you can tell they think a little more creatively than the other kids and they are REALLY quick to have the “correct” response (although not H, 1 of my other ASD-super students often has a short side commentary to go with his response). In the online environment, the ASD kids are easily and quickly accepted and easily integrated without any adaptations, thanks to supportive parents at home.

    If a child needs to pace or rock or make noises during online instruction, no-one can tell. His or her microphone is not turned on. We avoid web-cams during instruction. Focus is on the lesson. It is presented using audio, visual, and texting. Microphones are available when one wants to contribute or is called on.

    I am rambling, but your experience with H and our collective experience with H and others is showing that there are better ways to help our ASD children be successful. And I mean OUR ASD children. It takes a community to raise a child. I really believe that if one searches long enough, one can find a niche for every member of a community.


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