Autism Speaks

By Olivia Parker

The medical definition of autism is a “serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact.” We have all encountered a friend or person with autism. The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely. This means that every child you meet with autism is completely different from another child with autism. The most common symptoms people notice are communication and social interaction difficulty, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviors.

I recently volunteered at a summer camp designed for kids with autism called A-Camp. A-Camp gives love, hope, and acceptance for children with autism because many people have stereotypes that autistic people do not want to be touched or are not affectionate, or kids who do not talk or who do not have friends, but the reality is that they are none of these things. What I learned at A-Camp is that autistic children are some of the smartest children I know, and they have an unconditional love for anyone. At A-Camp there were two sisters who could not talk and had overall communication difficulties. They were so emotionally connected that if one sister was upset, then the other would become upset as well. We learned that they loved to listen to music, especially the Frozen soundtrack. These girls were such an inspiration and taught me not to judge people by appearances, but by who they truly are inside.

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