Sunday, April 15, 2012

Different, Not Less

Dr. Temple Grandin describes autistic people as "different, not less."  She might be rather gratified with my household and find herself somewhat snickering into her sleeve while she's at it. 

The Burger household is often dominated by a grand and glorious little spirit by the name of Julia.  She just turned six and was diagnosed with autism over a year ago.  The other three inmates of this house have some trouble keeping up with her creativity, energy, imagination, and self willed personality.  She makes snow angels in the Arizona dirt in mid July.  We own a large pack of invisible animals, each with its own name.  Among our invisible pets are two dogs named Daisy and Geronimo, and my own personal cat named Vivaldi (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em). 

I often have people meet Julia and tell me that they wished their children had autism.  I have found myself and others attempting to excuse ourselves for not bieng quite like her.  Indeed, it is the neurotypicals in this home that have to remind themselves that they are different from Julia, but not less. 


  1. As you know,I have 2 children diagnosed with asperger's syndrome. I believe that what is called disabilities are actually, spiritual gifts. My children are creative and intelligent. I would not change them for anything. I also know in my heart how hard it is for them,because the world does view them as "less". I have gone through the process of elementary school, which was wonderful.Children are far more accepting of other children. It does become more challenging as they grow. Middle school has been difficult, for many different reasons. Highschool is coming, and I will admit..I am feeling anxious. We have been fortunate enough to have wonderful professionals. Due to my brother, who is a speech lang. pathologist, and his wife who is a physician, my first child was diagnosed at the age of 2. Auditory integration training is so effective,such a blessing. I am a registered nurse, and there no amount of nursing school that prepares one for such challenges. I was on the board at TAFFA, started a cub scout group exclusive to boys with autism, I have even been named Tucson person of the year for all of my work. It still doesn't prepare one for the next phase. We cannot pull our children out of their world, we simply have to walk into their world, take their hand, and walk them out. We integrate our lives into their's. We realize the blessings of having our children. We know that our Heavenly Father knew that we could handle these challenges, or we would not have been given these gifts. I am grateful that we live in this generation , when there is so much information and education. I feel sorry for all of the people that didnt have the chance to succeed , due to ignorance. I have interviewed adults with autism, I have found the differences in the successful, and the 'not so successful'. My findings were interesting. I attended a seminar , with Dr. Temple Grandin being the speaker , she was very good. There is alot to be learned from anyone who is further along the phases than we ourselves are. I will stop rambling, have a good day, Michelle. I love that you post things that are substantial.

  2. I have never been around an autistic child and had always been told
    the wrong descriptions of how they are and their capabilities. Love the way you describe them as blessings. I won't look at them the same again. Thanks