By Kerry Magro, Self-Advocate, National Speaker, and Author
Someone once said that ‘sarcasm is a metric for potential.’ Often at times though this is one of the hardest struggles for those with autism growing up.
A lack of sarcasm is often one of the most common characteristics of struggling with an autism diagnosis along with things such as social and communication issues, difficulties reading body language, using different tones in their voices and many more.
I remember as a young boy on the spectrum in computer class and hearing a joke that I didn’t find funny. It was a sarcastic joke by our teacher and while everyone else in the class laughed I was there completely blank. A girl looked at me after the joke had stopped like I had three heads.
Imagine going the first fifty years of your life with an invisible disorder that you don’t know you have. It affects every move you make, every word you speak, and simply everything you do. You realize you are different than other people and never fit in, only you don’t understand why. As a child, other children run away from you. You try and make friends only no one wants to be your friend. You have all kinds of sensory issues that others don’t seem to have. Your sense of taste, smell, touch, hearing, and vision are amplified as if you live in IMAX 24/7, 365 days a year. Every social interaction seems to end up as a negative one. When you attempt to join in on conversations at work, everyone ignores you as if you are invisible. You are a target of bullying and harassment, not only throughout your school years, but at your workplace as well. You spend fifty years feeling like you are on the outside of life looking in. As if there’s a glass shield keeping you away from joining in with others. You see people together out in restaurants, in malls, everywhere you go, you see them laughing, talking, having fun. Yet there you are, alone. You try and get used to it, but deep inside you long for even just one friend. The feeling of loneliness at times totally consumes you. Holidays are the worst, as you are aware that others are gathering for big celebrations, as you are home alone yet again. Sadly, this is all common to individuals on the autism spectrum.
IBCCES Certified Training Partner Nobelova Gradani is educating the Nigerian community about autism in effort to reduce stigma about ASD.
Meet Helen Obiageli Oshikoya, the founder of Nigerian-based Nobelova Gradani. Nobelova Gradani is an IBCCES Certified Training Partner that was created to help train and educate professionals that work with individuals with autism in Nigeria.
As part of their self-funded effort to address the burden of autism in Lagos Nigeria, the organization has been involved in many efforts since 2012, including school-based awareness programs, screening of at-risk children and training of middle-level intervention service providers.