Kit Steinkellner
November 12, 2015 6:17 pm

She’s seven years old, she lives in Queensland, Australia, and she has autism. Cadence is incredibly sensitive and picks up on so much, and recently, she was so overwhelmed by the negative connotations that surround autism that she crawled under her teacher’s desk.

As Cadence’s mother Angela explained in a Facebook post, Cadence was under the desk because it was “…a ‘safe place’ where Cadence had put herself in her confusion that she was somehow ‘bad’ – a belief that had culminated from over-hearing other parents and hearing news stories.”

Cadence and her mother proceeded to have the following exchange with her mother, passing a pen and paper back and forth, writing what they wanted to say.

Cadence: Does being autism make me bad?

Angela: What makes you wonder if being autism makes you bad?

Cadence: Grown ups always say it’s hard being mum or dad if your kid is autism and it said on the TV if you are autism you hurt people. And kids who are autism have to be put in a gate to keep others safe or tied up.

Angela: Do you think I believe those things are true, or that I would say them?

Cadence: NO!

Angela: What do you believe?

Cadence: I don’t like hurting people. I don’t like being scared. I was born autism but that doesn’t mean I was born bad…Are you crying?

Angela: Yes. I have happy tears that you know what is true and I have sad tears because there are lots of people who don’t know what is true.

Angela proceeded to post the exchange on Facebook (which has since been shared over 1,000 times) and used the conversation she had with her daughter as a teachable moment for her friends and followers.

We are so sad that Cadence had internalized such terrible misinformation and so glad that Angela used this opportunity to educate her daughter, and, by doing so, educate us all.

Related reading:

What it’s like living at the center of the autistic spectrum

This Broadway actor stood up for a young audience member with autism and reminded us how magical theater is 

(Image via Facebook)