By Christine Denise
Autism Mom and Contributing Writer for As You Are, a virtual clinic dramatically increasing access to early autism diagnostic services through the use of exclusively telehealth appointments
There is a rule in newspaper writing: don’t bury the lead.
The lead sentence is the most important sentence of a story.
It’s the first sentence.
It’s got to contain a fact that could change everything about the way you read the rest of the story – or whether you’re even interested in reading the story at all.
Burying the lead between paragraphs full of details that aren’t as important is a mistake.
For me, when my son was first diagnosed with autism, I felt like his diagnosis was the lead sentence for every conversation, every introduction, every encounter I ever had with people about him.
I found myself saying, “I have three boys, and my youngest has autism,” right from the beginning.
As the years have passed, I have found myself saying a lot more about him than just his diagnosis because there is so much more to him.
So, I break the cardinal rule of newspaper writing when it comes to telling stories about my son to people.
I think it helps people realize children and people with autism have likes and dislikes just like neurotypical people, because they are more than just the disorder.
Here’s what burying the lead looks like for my son.
My son loves veggie straws, dried fruits, chips and pretty much any food that crunches.
My son loves to swim.
My son loves to feel wind on his face, so the faster we go on a waverunner or a boat, the better.
My son loves to swing.
My son loves to listen to loud music.
My son loves to hang upside down.
My son loves to hang from monkey bars, showing the incredible strength he has in his core muscles and fingers.
My son loves to go for rides in wagons or go karts.
My son loves pizza.
My son loves toys that light up.
My son loves to go through car washes.
My son loves to go to arcades full of lights and games.
My son loves cheese.
My son loves to take baths and showers with his bath toys.
My son loves to find and watch many of the same videos on his iPad.
My son loves to watch Wild Kratts.
My son loves to scroll through pictures on my cellphone.
My son loves ice cream.
My son loves watching videos and listening to music by the band OK GO.
My son loves to lay on his dog.
My son loves going on boat rides.
My son loves tubing with his brothers.
My son loves swimming in a lake.
My son loves going to the zoo.
My son loves going to our local aquarium to watch all of the creatures in the tanks.
My son loves to jump.
My son loves rides that spin.
My son loves going to trampoline parks, so he can run across multiple trampolines or just jump in place as much as he can.
My son loves to climb.
My son loves to ride his school bus.
My son loves to wrestle with his older brothers.
My son loves Mexican restaurants because most of them serve chips before a meal.
My son loves to listen to audiobooks his grandparents record for him.
My son loves seeing his grandparents.
My son loves his brothers.
My son loves his parents.
My son doesn’t like to brush his teeth.
My son doesn’t like foods that feel squishy in his mouth.
My son doesn’t like it when we ask him to clean up a mess he’s made.
My son doesn’t like heights.
My son doesn’t like new shoes.
My son doesn’t like sitting still.
My son doesn’t like it when screen time ends.
My son doesn’t like to sleep somewhere he’s not familiar with.
My son doesn’t like it when it’s too cold or too hot outside.
My son doesn’t like getting his haircut.
My son has autism.
Do you have questions about your child’s development? The team at As You Are provides useful autism screening and diagnostic evaluations for kids 16 months to 10 years old via telehealth appointments.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This is a sponsored blog post, but all opinions are my own.