Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Mainstream Media often shares the unique characteristics of Autism and not the Classic Autism most of the children are diagnosed with today.  There is a small percentage of population of the articles and videos that you see today in the media.  It  portrays Autism to the “one off” stories you hear about but not what the majority experience daily.  You may see a picture, video or article on a Mathematical wizard or the Physicist, Albert Einstein or the 6 year old who can play Billy Joel’s, Piano Man better than he can or the blind non-verbal 5 year old who found his voice and sings like an angel or Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon or the American Professor of Animal Science, Temple Grandin or maybe watching clips from the 1980’s movie Rain Man.

We need to also understand that Autism is not all about the high functioning child who can sometimes be awkward or better yet quirky to be around. Autism can be hard. Autism can be sad. Autism can be confusing. Autism can be messy. Autism can be beautiful. Autism can be fascinating. Autism could be violent. Autism can be isolating. Autism can be lonely.


Saturday night I was asked by a friend who has not spent a lot of time around Cody, “Aren’t most children with autism, smart like genius smart?” I replied, “No, not always.  Cody’s processes learning differently.  He is very much a visual learner and you usually only have to show him once. His sequencing and matching is off the charts and he can point out over 100 animal’s with receptive labeling even though he can’t say them.  He has to actually learn things that typically would come natural to others.  He loves to jump in the trampoline but the last several weeks he has forgotten how fun it is because we have been working on other programs with him.  So, I am in the process of reminding him how much he loves to jump.  Through this learning process comes tears and frustration. Overall, his brain just works different.”   

People who do not know or live with someone with autism can create a false sense of what autism is really like.  People may even ask, what is Cody’s special talent? They may see a unique story on social media and assume that must be Cody.  They may watch a video of a child with Autism experiencing sensory overload or seeking sensory input through their eyes and think, that must be what Cody is experiencing every day. You see, when you meet one child with autism, you have only met one.  The Autism spectrum is HUGE and the characteristics that fall under the spectrum vary from child to child.  Cody falls under Classic Autism near the pot of gold on the diagram below.   Don’t get me wrong some of the information is accurate but if you really want to understand Autism, ask questions about the individual you want to understand more about.


We hosted a party and had an amazing weekend with some of my closest friends who got to be around Cody for an entire afternoon. Allow those times so they can really get to know and understand autism. Let them watch and experience the beautiful, confusing, hard, fascinating, frustrating world that Cody lives every single day.  You can also read and understand some of the characteristics that fall under Classic Autism that can be helpful to better understand 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

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