For World Autism Awareness Day, we wanted to connect with a family who has found babywearing helpful for their child with autism. We chatted with Eileen of The Autism Cafe, who is a mother to Charlie, who is 5 years old, and Jude who is 2.5. Read on to learn Eileen and Charlie's story on how their Tula Carrier provides additional security for both of them.
Please tell us a little bit about your family and how autism plays a role in your journey?
I was born and raised in France but I’ve been living in Austin, Texas for 7 years now with my family. Charlie was diagnosed with autism just before his second birthday and up until a couple of months ago, he was completely nonverbal. He started repeating sounds this year and using multiple word approximations so we’re overjoyed. I myself am on the autism spectrum too, though I was diagnosed high-functioning.
What are some ways that using a baby carrier like the Tula Baby Carrier helps your family?
Charlie is 5 but due to his autism, he has no sense of danger whatsoever. For example, he runs towards the street without thinking twice. He also has an urge to just escape. It’s stressful to attend events. We have to watch Charlie much more closely than any other kid. If we were to get separated in a crowd, he wouldn’t be able to tell anyone his name, let alone how to contact us, his parents. Having a carrier helps tremendously in these situations. It’s a way to keep Charlie safe and close to us. Charlie loves being carried too. I think he likes the proximity. He can also hide himself if the situation becomes too overwhelming. I love that our Tula is convenient to bring with us, and it takes up a lot less room than a stroller.
Why do you think babywearing (using baby carriers) has been helpful?
Comfort, safety, and convenience. It’s helped keep Charlie safe and it provides him with comfort. He especially likes to be carried on my husband's back. He can see everything from up high and it’s like getting a piggyback ride, which is one of his favourite things.
What would you like people to know when meeting Charlie?
Personally, I like when people ask questions about Charlie. I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable or feel like autism is taboo. I also want people to know that Charlie probably won’t answer to them or even look at them, but I do enjoy talking about it and people shouldn't be shy.
Anything else you would like to share about your experience with babywearing.
Carriers aren’t just for babies. Charlie is very comfortable in his toddler Tula. It’s a must-have for our family trip and daily life and simplifies outings for us a lot.