Friday, November 2, 2012

I Love Someone with Autism

I often see this slogan on bumper stickers, particularly around my children's school.  Another sticker bears the injunction "Cure Autism Now!"  Truthfully, as a parent of an autistic daughter, the well meaning demand to cure autism immediately saddens me.  Why?  Shouldn't I want my daughter to be a neuro typical?  With all the therapy she undergoes in speech and occupation shouldn't I want her cured?  Not as badly as one might think.

Autism is a gift from God.  It is a mighty gift that we are only now beginning to appreciate.  I find in my daughter a precious kind of innocence in a very dark, immoral world.  She is detached from this world in a powerful way and because she is, she continually reminds people that there is something far greater than the status quo.  No one who gets to know her walks away without coming under her all consuming spell of excitement.  She is excited to be alive, to experience things, to learn and to grow.  And though at six years old she still speaks somewhat like a baby, her intelligence proves beyond impressive.  She will rattle off names and dates in ways that continually twist my mind into knots.  She refers to songs in books of sheet music by their page numbers off the top of her head.  She writes chapter books and is a profoundly expressive reader.  I have never had any doubt that one day she may, if she likes, take over the world. 

So before we shun what makes people different, and sometimes we might be tempted to say, less or impaired, let us remember that their gifts are what make them incredible.  Sometimes rather than trying to "fix" the "problem" we might sit down and consider what amazing truths we can find in this so called "handicapped" person.  Rather than trying to destroy what makes them so special, let us learn from their very different perspective.  Granted, we work very hard on her language, grammar, fine motor skills and the like, but those are mere details compared to the vast amount of passionate intelligence autistic people almost always hold.  And yes, ensuring she can function in a classroom is important and the like, but that is only a surface feature.  Regarding the deeper level of autistic power in my daughter, I would not change a hair on her magnificent head. 

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