Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hend and Hamza and Autism Acceptance Month

We're featuring "Slice of Life" conversations with Autistics of all ages -- kids through adults -- throughout April's Autism Acceptance Month.

Our goal is to help TPGA readers understand that autistic people are people who have interesting, complicated lives and who are as diverse and varied as any other population united by a label.

We are the people in each other's neighborhoods, and the more we know about each other -- the more visible autistic people and children are -- the more common autism acceptance will be. That is our hope.


Today we're talking with future Condor Rescuer Hend, and her digger-loving brother Hamza. They were interviewed by their mother, Emma Apple.

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Emma writes: Hend. Almost seven, diagnosed with Asperger's at five. Has a giant imagination, loves condors and birds in general (to a lesser intensity), intent on becoming a 'Condor rescuer' when she grows up.

What is your name?

Hend.

Do you have a website?

Yep, Little Miss Sunshine (http://www.facebook.com/sunshineproject)

What would you like a one-sentence description of yourself to say?

I love Condors because they are cute.

Do you have any autistic superpowers? What are they?

Yes I do. My superpowers are noticing someone with autism, understanding how they feel. My super eyesight. My hurt power: I can't feel a thing. And many more.

What are some situations that make you happy, or satisfied?

Nice food and cake and when I turn 7 I'll be satisfied and happy.

What are some situations that make you sad, or anxious?

Sometimes when Andi, a kid from school that I like, is absent and she chooses me every time and then no one plays with me and I spend the time sitting on the step with no one to play with, everyone keeps playing with their stuff.

What are your preferred ways to be social?

Playing and eating together.

What traits do you prize in a friend, or companion?

Andi always plays with me. [Emma: Andi is her friend at school, she gets on well with the other kids as far as I've been told but I don't think she has any friends she plays with regularly besides Andi.]

Are there parts of your life you wish were easier?

I wish I got all the stuff I wanted. Eating everything I want playing with all the stuff I want. [Emma: Don't we all!.]

What's the next big goal you have for yourself?

Winning each game. [Emma: Not sure what games we're winning here, but there you go.]

What does bliss feel like to you?

It feels like laying on a cozy bed and playing with a friend and loving Allah more than anything else in the world -- which I do. [Emma: She's always has a strong attachment to and understanding of our Muslim beliefs and values.]

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Emma writes: Hamza is almost five, diagnosed with autism (early onset Asperger's, but he had major language delays) at four. Has a wonderful laugh, loves insects, vehicles (especially of construction variety) and the moon. I had to reword many of the sentences so he understood the kind of answer I wanted.

What is your name?

Hamza

Do you have a website?

Yeah I'm drawing a road.

What would you like a one-sentence description of yourself to say?

I play with a digger.

Do you have any autistic superpowers? What are they?

Yeah! My superpower is about the one I saw, a digger. A digger near the supermarket.

What are some situations that make you happy, or satisfied?

Diggers...

What are some situations that make you sad, or anxious?

Monsters, some stickers make me sad because I don't really want them.

What are your preferred ways to be social?

I like to play with the girls. I want to play with each other. [Emma: He's always following little girls at the park, boys make him nervous.]

What traits do you prize in a friend, or companion?

To play with each other. [Emma: Hamza is very interested in other kids but he doesn't know how to connect with them and they usually don't try to connect with him. I'm a bit concerned about bullying at the moment.]

Are there parts of your life you wish were easier?

Yeah.

What's the next big goal you have for yourself?

Play with diggers...

What does bliss feel like to you?

Diggers make me happy.