What is it like…a poem for Autism Awareness Month

what is it like to quail at touch
to feel discomfort from seams and itch from tags?
what is it like to feel trapped
from noise or crowds?
what is it like to scream in pain
when a room goes from dark to light?
what is it like
to be fixated on one thing
to the exclusion of almost everything else?
what is it like
to fear looking someone in the eye?
what is it like to be called names
by those who choose not to understand
that you are just as valuable as them?

what is it like to see the world
in such a unique, profound and simple way
that sometimes I am staggered by your brilliance?


In addition to being (Inter)National Poetry Writing Month, April is also Autism Awareness Month. Today is “inside out shirt day” – a day that everyone is encouraged to wear their shirt inside out to bring attention to the sensory issues that many people on the Autism Spectrum deal with on a daily basis. I have a son on the Autism Spectrum, and although his challenges are not nearly as extreme as those I have listed in my poem above, there are many on the spectrum who do have many of these issues. My hope, though, with my poem is to draw attention to the fact that those on the Autism Spectrum have much to offer us – they do see the world different from those of us who are “neurologically typical” – and because of that unique perspective, they are often the ones to make astounding discoveries that are of benefit to all of us.

This is my NaPoWriMo poem for the day (I chose to not follow the prompt)

4 thoughts on “What is it like…a poem for Autism Awareness Month

  1. Thanks so much for this poem. I know some wonderful people who are on the autism spectrum, others with Downs Syndrome, etc. Each one is special to me. I understand only a little of what they experience. I have tactile sensitivities myself, tags are one, also seams in socks, certain foods, and sensitivity to bright lights, crowds, and loud or sudden noises. This poem spoke to me on behalf of everyone who is “different”–which is really all of us.

    • Yes indeed! 2 of my kids are in a choir that is a mix of kids with and without cognitive challenges. Some of the kids have Downs or other challenges…and they prove time and time again what wonderful people they are!

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