Are you willing? A reflection into the world of autism.....


Picture the huge roar as a motorbike rides past you. It’s loud, but its tolerable.

Think about the florescent lights in the supermarket. They seem bright, but you’re still able to get your shopping done.

Imagine an unfamiliar person walking into your personal space asking a question you’re not sure how to answer. It seems a little forward, but you’re able to step back, gather yourself and answer them.

Visualise a loud, crowded room. Different smells, unfamiliar people. It’s hot, you’re hungry and thirsty. There is a lot going on for you, but you recognise the signs early enough and leave to enable your nervous system to calm down.  

Think of your favourite place to go. The place you feel your happiest in. You’ve arrived only to find out its actually shut that particular day. You’re disappointed but you understand that these things happen. Not a huge deal, and you’ll just plan to go another time.  

Think back to the time you fell off your bike or maybe tripped down the stairs. It caught you by surprise, and you scraped your knee.  You pick yourself up and maybe put a band-aid on the wound. Accidents happen, and it’s no – one’s fault.

Think about the day that had you leaving home in the early AM, and not arriving home till really late that night. You haven’t been able to retreat to your safe place, be at home in your own comforts or sit alone which is what you love. You finally get home, you’re tired, but the next day you’re feeling good to do it all again.

Think about a time where you were promised something really exciting in the coming weeks. Turns out there’s been a change in plans, and you’ll now have to wait even longer until it’s ready.  You understand and are comfortable waiting, however long it takes.

These scenarios may not seem a big deal for the typical person, but they can cause unbearable pain for my autistic son. They are not 2-minute reflections that can be forgotten about, and it’s not a matter of moving on with the day like nothing has happened. 

They can be extremely debilitating, draining and affect his ability to function and think about anything else.

I talk about them because it does interfere with his everyday life, and not everyone understands the true impact it can have on an autistic person and how they function afterwards.

But as we’ve learnt over the years, it’s a matter of changing and adapting to the supports he requires, and always remaining positive and calm for him when those situations arise.

Whilst we navigate the chaos of the world, and confusion inside his precious brain, he sure does continue to amaze us with the incredible way he sees the world. He’s taught us that the small things in life are actually the big things. He’s shown us the joy you can find in unexpected places. He’s proven that kindness costs nothing but can literally change someone’s entire day, and to of course honour all our feelings, no matter how big or small.

 We let him show us his intensely focused passions and love interests, and we use those as a focus for connection and appreciation. From the soothing hum of air conditioners to the click of TV remotes, the thunderous applause of hand dryers, the motion of vacuum cleaners, the rhythm of traffic lights, and now the captivating world of DVD players – each fascination taking us on a unique journey showcasing his incredible and unique way of doing things.  


As his mother and biggest supporter, I will always advocate for him and promote kindness, inclusion and acceptance for all. By sharing his brilliant mind, soul and story, my goal is to show others the beauty in being different. It’s how we break down barriers, create a kinder world and enrich the experiences for everyone, regardless of differences.

And as I continue to share the struggles, the differences, the special interests, the meltdowns and the fight for inclusion and acceptance for my son and the whole neurodivergent community…. can I ask, will you be willing to do this too?

Will you recognise that being different is simply a difference, but by no means less?

Will you shine a light on the talents and abilities of our neurodivergent children, so people can truly understand how amazing they are?

Will you spark conversations around ‘out of the box’ thinking, so their roles in society are valued just like everyone else?

Will you acknowledge that we should all express ourselves freely and unapologetically?

And will you always show kindness, no matter our differences or the paths we’ve walked?

With support and unity, we are then able to move towards inclusivity and understanding for all.

We need every voice to be heard, every story to be valued, and every dream to be realised.

That’s how we truly make the world a better place.

Julia Ryan

William Ready

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