I Volunteer – Heidi Alcasas
I have had the pleasure of accompanying the Fondation Autisme on two separate occasions so far and I plan to continue to help out when I can. I was not sure what to expect the first time I volunteered.
I went to the restaurant, Gasthaus Im Pfenn, in Irrhausen, with a lot of pre-conceived ideas of what autistic people were like. I had expected them to be quiet and reserved, and that physical contact was to be avoided. So I was in for a big surprise when it ended up being just the opposite and I was not prepared for the wonderful time that I had while accompanying them to the restaurant!
They were very lively and expressive in their actions and some could communicate with a few words and simple sentences. Most of all there were smiles all around and just having a great time together.
The most rewarding part was when one of them held my hand while we were taking a walk as if to say thank you for caring. I went there to help them, but they in turn taught me a valuable lesson by their simple outlook on life to just enjoy each and every moment.
Photo Credit: Almyra Knevel Persson