Anyone who goes to a Hispanic party knows that first thing you hear is music—loud music. It is a normal part of any gathering, but for 5 year-old year Adan Barrera living in Round Lake, it was painful. Adan was bothered by the noise, which caused him to behave in an annoyed aggressive behavior by screaming and crying. Adan could not deal with loud sounds of the music, people laughing, and other children playing. He would go to his parents and beg, “Go home, daddy! Go home, mommy!” Other members of Adan’s family would assume he was throwing a temper tantrum and would stare and criticize. They would say he was an undisciplined, annoying child. But his mother,, Luz Barrera, knows Adan better than anyone. She knew that Adan was not undisciplined, and he wasn’t throwing temper tantrums. Actually, Adan had been diagnosed with autism when he was born, and she knew that loud noises had a terrible effect on him. She also knew how bad it felt to be faced with ugly stares and ignorant comments.
“Sometimes I don’t think the Hispanic culture or any other culture gets it,” Barrera said. “They just think a child is acting up and needs to be disciplined, but that’s not always the case.”.
According to autism Speaks, one in 45 children, ages 3 to 17, have been diagnosed with Autism. Today, it is also known as ASD, a brain-based disorder that is characterized by social-communication anxiety, restricted repetitive behaviors, noise, activities and other interests. There are many children who are diagnosed with autism. Different types of disorders that are known as Autism are also called autistic disorder, pervasive development disorder and much more. As there is many different types of Autism, there is also different types of amounts that a certain child can be diagnosed with. Some children, are diagnosed with a bit more than others but they all suffer and go through a lot, just like any other illness.
Adan, including many other kids, struggles when it comes to dealing with other children their age. On an everyday basis, Adan is is usually independent but is always playing with his younger 4 year-old brother. His mother, Barrera explained that going out on weekends is difficult.. “Adan needs a routine when going out,” she said. “We can’t go out to somewhere he hasn’t been before without having a meltdown. It’s hard to have Adan go out.” It’s hard for children like Adan to go out because they aren’t use to being around many people and because they don’t like it. Adan’s need for routine and structure also makes it difficult for him to play with other children his age., “Adan would rather play independently],” Barrera said. He likes to do his things his way and at his pace. Barrera said that when Adan was younger, she thought he would never talk, or be able to tell when he had to go to the bathroom, when he was tired, or hungry. But throughout the years, Adan has become more vocal, and he is now learning the ABCs in Russian on his own.
Adan doesn’t always struggle with everyday life, he also has many achievements. “Adan is very smart and has his own personality,” Barrera said. He loves helping and teaching others what he learns. His favorite topics to talk about are the alphabet and numbers. He always finds a new way to sing along with the children in the Aprendiendo a crecer daycare. Cristina Barrera, his daycare provider states that Adan loves to always sing the alphabet during his play time. “He’s always playing with the magnetic ABCs on the whiteboard and is always surprising each one of us each and every day,” she said.
Adan doesn’t always have the best mornings, but he always manages to end the day laughing and smiling. He enjoys watching educational TV shows on PBS Kids and he always steps in to help the other children at his daycare.“Whether it be one of the kids struggling to get the last block to put on the tower, or reaching to get a toy, Adan is always there helping others,” daycare provider Barrera said. Now, teachers are planning on putting Adan into regular classes because of how advanced he is, which shows that the proper resources and a tiny bit of understanding can help many children live fulfilling lives..
April is autism awareness month, but Adan’s story shows that autism should be recognized not just for one month, but for every day. But there is hope that autism and those diagnosed with autism are getting recognized for being differently abled, but totally capable. More events highlighting this idea are starting, like the Autism Speaks Walk, a walk performed each April. The Autism Speaks walk was founded in 2005 by two grandparents, Suzanne and Bob Wright, who were inspired by their grandson who was diagnosed with Autism. With their leadership and determination to help make awareness, this walk is now being performed in about 150 countries, if not more.
Perhaps even more exciting, children will be able to watch a character with autism on TV every day because “Sesame Street” recently added a new Muppet to its cast. Julia made her debut April 10 and she is curious, smiley, and loves to play. She also has autism. The show’s writers hop to show that just because she has autism, does not mean she is incapable; it just means Julia will do things a little differently, and it may take her more time to do them.