There is no ONE look to Autism

“He makes great eye contact!”

He doesn’t look like he has autism.” 

“But he seems so normal.” 

“Oh my kid does the same thing.” 

If you want to know what an autistic child looks like, look at your own child or grandchild.

Look at the children who live next door to you and take a glimpse at every child next time you are at the park.  These could very well be the faces of autism. There is no visible indication that a child is affected by this neurological disorder.

Autism can be tricky and often look like bad parenting at times.  I have read and hear several stories where parents receive “the looks” in response to certain behaviors. So many times parents with children find themselves always informing someone and raising awareness about autism in these situations.

I find myself educating parents when Cody stims.  I can remember a recent time when I was at Target and a lady stopped to ask me, “Why is he so excited and what was he looking at on the ceiling?” 10 minutes later, the lady received knowledge about Autism and explained that truth be told, we ALL stim.  I asked her, “Have you ever tapped your pencil, bitten your nails, twirled your hair, or paced?”  She nodded her head yes so I explained to her that she too engaged in stimming.  I explained that Copy was looking at the straight lines of the ceiling tiles and florescent lighting while being pushed in the cart and that was making him nervous and excited and filled with lots of emotions that sometimes makes his hands flap.  Like anyone else, people with autism stim to help themselves to manage anxiety, fear, anger, and other negative emotions.  Cody may stim to help him handle overwhelming sensory input (too much noise, light, heat, etc.).


The tricky part in my personal experience with autism is it is limited to one person… Cody Rivers.  What my experience can be can be completely different to others.  In the last 14 months, Cody has attended 368 hours of therapy.  Yes ,that was not a typo, 368 hours!  During those hours, I personally have never met one child that is even similar to Cody.  So, when I share about autism and parenting a child with autism it is from the perspective of Cody’s Mama-lama.  So, in return what happens it can be frustrating because often I get responses like the quotes above.

So does Autism have a look? Yes, I suppose it looks like a handsome big blue eyed boy with eye lashes that every woman would kill to have.  A smile that will melt your heart and a giggle that is such a sweet sound that it can make you laugh or sometimes in my case make me cry with joy.


Autism can look like eyes that never quite meet your gaze or eyes that have learned to make contact due to repetition or 368 hours of therapy or who has been photographed since the day he was born and knows the steps to strike a pose when I start singing a song.  Have you caught on yet?  There is no one look to Autism. 


Autism is a spectrum – a wide spectrum of incredible people with varying gifts, interests, looks, and struggles that affects social and communication skills.  If you ask for general information about autism, you’re likely to be told “when you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism.”

Only met One

Here are just a few of the more obvious differences among people on the spectrum:

  • Some people on the spectrum have no spoke language but others talk a mile a minute.
  • Some are very engaged (often too engaged) with other people, while others would be happy to spend most of their lives in complete solitude.
  • Some have no problem with crowds or noise while others are upset by the buzz of a fluorescent light bulb.
  • Some autistic people are capable of high level academic achievement, while others have severe cognitive and/or learning disabilities.
  • Some autistic people have aggressive and/or self-aggressive behaviors, while others are gentle and slow to anger.IMG_1876

There is no one look to autism and there is no one face of autism.

Published by mamalamaneustupa

Bio My name is Shelley Neustupa. I am a mother of two cool boys and a wife of 22 years to my high school sweetheart. My oldest son attends the University of Oklahoma. Boomer! My youngest is in 2nd grade and was diagnosed with Autism and Mixed Receptive Expressive Disorder at age 2. Since his diagnosis, I promised him I would advocate and educate as hard as he works each day in therapy. I began writing and have been able to touch many parents that may be new to this journey providing them with actual experiences (not candy coated), support and resources through my entries. Writing is my therapy and my hope one day that my nonverbal son will be able to take these diaries and speak about his own journey and how autism relates to his own experiences. Who knows he and his older brother may become National Speaker’s one day? Come along on our journey to better understand our lives through the eyes of a boy with autism, his Skilled Companion dog Jude, his big brother (and best friend) and mom and dad. My raw vulnerability captures the everyday moments of our journey and will bring even more awareness. A week does not go by where we do not learn something new about ourselves and I want to share these chapters with you. My Sons Undeniable Strengths… Extremely smart and figures out things quickly. Has a memory that allows him to remember more things than I could ever hope for. Persuasive by his personality and sheepish looks. Overabundance of stamina and strength. Loves the outdoors. Enjoys life and always has fun with an unforgettable smile. You can find us here: Writer: Autism Through His Eyes Facebook Instagram YouTube Pinterest Canine Companions for Independence News Interview Cody and Skilled Companion Jude - Our Story

6 thoughts on “There is no ONE look to Autism

  1. You should change professions!, you are so good at explaining autism, I know from experience, I hope this helps people to understand 😋

    Sent from my iPad



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