I have some friends that have a child with autism.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.
Some of my friends have a more difficult situation than others. But all of the children are really special. As with every child, with every person we should focus on the strengths and learn to accept the differences and also help them with being different. As especially for them it is not an easy situation to grow up.
We also had the pleasure last year to have an intern with the autism syndrome. Let me call him “Air” Yes we had to prepare the team in advance about the do’s and dont’s. We also gave him one single contact person in our team that gave him his daily tasks. This among some other small things to take into account, but honestly, not that difficult.
These little things were very important for him to make it work, and yes in our environment we had a challenge. As in our business nothing is regular, what we ask from our team is flexibility, day after day. And this was a good lesson to see that even in our unpredictable company, where every day is different, this special boy did function. Because as a team we all wanted to make it work. I was so proud of my team, they are so very open minded, very welcoming and they are so flexible that even being very organised and stick to the plan worked well, as a contradictio in terminus almost.
And I was proud of ” Air”. He came to his job on his own, with the bus, every day. Only this is already a great achievement. All big things in life started with small steps every day. Be aware of this, and for some people the steps are different, what is easy for you is difficult for someone else.
Last week I got a call that broke my heart. The father of “Air” called me, his 2 last internships did not work out well..they gave him bad points. Bad points on all the things that are directly linked to his autism. This might even effect the fact whether he passes the year or not. He wants to start a study in multi-media techniques next year. He is so happy to have found a school, he is so motivated.
How can you be so stupid as a company ! A person with autism is not gonna become a person without autism. A gay person is also a gay person. If you are not willing to invest in young people doing an intern, you should not take an intern, as you do more harm than you think.
His father told me that after his intern in our company he grow so much self-confidence. This made me smile and I hope, I really hope that “Air” will get his diploma and that he can start this next step in his life. He is looking forward, and this is already so important for someone with autism. Trust me he will become world famous, because as for every child we should give him the change to dream about “the sky is the limit”, yes even for “AIR”, especially for him.
I cross my fingers and I will do every thing I can to help him out. As “AIR”, as all the children with autism of my friends have a special place in my heart.
I will welcome him back with open arms, literally for me and figuratively for him .
And yes I know he will not fall in my open arms, as hey that is just not what “Air” likes, to fall in someone open arms, and that is easier for me to adapt to, than for him. That’s how live is, about doing the extra mile.