Recently my work has brought more awareness to me on the issues with isolation, particularly among autistic people.

Class leader should be actively looking out for exclusions. Academic performance is only a part of university life. If a student struggles to find support in class, chances are he or she may start losing motivations for university.

When you see someone who is not included in a group, whether it is at school or work, try and speak to them.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been in situations when nobody reaches out to the one(s) who appear to be the outsiders. Perhaps they are more shy. Perhaps the group already know each other well. Perhaps it’s both of the reasons or neither of them. If you have been in this situation and are unlucky enough to be the outsider, you know that feeling is not pleasant and you ask yourself why you bother to come in the first place.

If you are unsure of what to say to them, ask a question.

I notice that people love keeping their own group of friends and it makes perfect sense cause we all love our comfort zones. Having new people in is difficult when you already got that group of people that you are most familiar with. But imagine yourself as that new person, you would want to be included and you would love a sense of belonging.

Sometimes all it takes is for one person to be that kind soul to step out of their comfort zone and welcome them.



Beyond the word autism

Yesterday was a life transforming day for me.

I was challenged, frustrated, confused, overwhelmed, inspired, encouraged, and most importantly, hopeful.

One of the reasons I became interested in autism was the Netflix show Atypical.

My husband and I finished season 1 a few months ago and recently started season 2.

Ever since then, I started looking for opportunities to learn about it.

Yesterday I went to a seminar. Initially, I felt out of place because I realised almost all of them were parents. However, they created a safe space for me to learn from them.

Later in the evening, my husband and I went to a talk by Paul Isaacs.

I have had so many thoughts and feelings since yesterday.

Back then, I was ignorant.

I had degree in Psychology but my knowledge and understanding of autism was fragmentary.

I did not pay attention to it.

It was easy to ignore so long as it was not personally affecting my life.

Listening to people’s stories and experiences in real life gave me a deeper sense of what it means to raise an autistic child and what it means to be one.

The amount of judgment these parents receive from the public, other parents and other kids is real.

“They don’t really understand…”

It is true.. they don’t. I don’t.

It is easier to judge something we don’t understand.

It is easier to blame someone we don’t personally know.

We can never truly feel what someone else feels.

I do not know what it is like to raise a kid, let alone meeting all their different needs.

But I acknowledge that it is difficult to find a specific toothpaste for each kid (considering I never even had to buy toothpaste for someone else).

“It doesn’t matter how many times somebody tells me that it’s hot. If I can’t perceive that

it’s hot, how do I know that it’s hot?”

“It has nothing to do with intelligence. It’s just perception.”

Paul Isaacs gave me a new way of looking at different perspectives.

It is a bit like speaking different languages.

“It isn’t a choice to have a shutdown or meltdown. It could be sensory overload.”

“When someone has a label, it is best to understand what the label means for them.”

Yesterday also taught me how different each autistic person is. Their likes. dislikes. interests. the way they react to different things etc.

Just like all of us, we are all fruit salad trying to understand this world which is also fruit salad.

One of the most powerful/inspiring things he said,

“There is more in common than not.”

It has stuck in my head since last night.

Are we working too hard on identifying differences but not common ground?

If we look closely, we will find the same reasons behind different things we do.

But does that make one of us better? not really.

Tears that flow will go

high and low
come and go
tears travel mile
to wait for smile
the shifting of emotion
feels like 4D motion
everything else is clueless
as if the world is heartless
cheerful drumbeat resumes
leaves remain still
you may say the world is cruel
or I am a fool
I should know by now
nothing stays
not even a creature without a soul
tears that flow will go
the same day
will not stay
so enjoy the high and low
before they go