Why Can’t You Just…?

(A poem about autism)

Why can’t you just sit still?
You squirm, you stim, you flap,
you spin, you nod, you spill
your drinks and bang and tap.
It tires me out and must
look weird.  Why can’t you just?

I’m sorry I can’t sit still.
My body needs to move.
I want to rest and chill,
to be good and to improve.
Stillness feels like jail I must
break free from.  I can’t just.

Why can’t you just eat up
the food I’ve made for you?
I chose the plate and cup
you like, the right food, too.
I won’t even insist the crust
is gone.  Why can’t you just?

The plate is fine, indeed,
but something isn’t right.
I think I saw a seed.
The colour should be white.
It makes me feel disgust.
I’m sorry.  I can’t just.

Why can’t you just get dressed?
I only asked one thing.
We need to leave; I’m stressed.
Stop faffing and just bring
them over here.  You’ve mussed
your clothes!  Why can’t you just?

I’m sorry, but the TV
distracts me and my shirt
has tricky bits for me, see?
My clothes all scratch and hurt.
Nobody else seems fussed
but I am.  I can’t just.

Why can’t you just go play
with all the toys you’ve got?
You just get in my way
and pester me a lot.
I’m busy cleaning dust.
Go play!  Why can’t you just?

My time is hard to fill.
I don’t know what to do.
Some kids do have this skill.
I wish I had a clue
without someone I trust
to tell me.  I can’t just.

Why can’t you just join in
like all the other kids?
Just take it on the chin:
the shouts, the screams, the skids.
You always seem so non-plussed
by them.  Why can’t you just?

Other kids confuse me
with what they say and do.
I know they wouldn’t choose me
and they’re noisy, too.
It’s not that I’m not fussed.
I’m frightened.  I can’t just.

Why can’t you just be quiet?
I find it hard to think
when surrounded by a riot.
You hum, shout, bang and clink.
Each sound is a knife-thrust
at me.  Why can’t you just?

But silence is so scary.
I feel compelled to fill it.
And I’m not being contrary
when I use my voice until it
drowns out all else.  I must
make my sounds.  I can’t just.

Why can’t you just be normal?
It’s not that I don’t love you.
Sometimes you sound so formal
and use words so above you.
It makes it seem like you have sussed
it out.  Why can’t you just?

I know sometimes it might seem
like I am in control.
It’s frustrating when I scream
and flap.  I know it takes its toll
on you but please don’t rant
like I can help it.  I just can’t.



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  1. Beautiful…just beautiful. You have a talent.



  2. I think this is just brilliant Ms Nym. I love it and hear it. Acceptance and love is all I’ve got for this. I sometimes say to by eldest, can you sit still or stop jumping about and he says, ‘I’ve just got to mum’ and I often say, ‘I believe you’. Thanks for the wonderful poem and sharing it with us at #spectrumsunday


  3. This is so brillliant – it gives a real insight into the parallels between parent and child. Well done for capturing so creatively #Spectrumsunday


  4. with autism/aspergers screaming is very common.i take part in a lot lot

    research.my blog http;//mark-kent.webs.com

    i am a adult with aspergers



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