Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More thoughts on Autism

Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook about Oprah hosting some families that were in a movie about autism. The post itself was from an autism group and talked about a cure for autism. I understand that many people talk about a cure in terms of helping the autistic child manage his or her life easier; I am writing because of the  others that want autism to be fixed or removed.

I had to take some deep breaths, close my eyes, and breathe. I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this but I'm going to say it anyway: "THERE IS NO CURE FOR AUTISM!!!"

There is no cure, and I do not wish for one, because most of what I read that has anything to do with a cure for autism means medications and treatments and changing that child forever. I don't believe that autism is a disease or illness. I believe autism is, for whatever reason, part of the very core of the child and the child's personality. 

Zachary is who he is BECAUSE of autism, not in spite of autism. He is incredibly loving, uniquely funny, and passionately creative. He might not make eye contact with you when you are talking to him, but don't presume that means he is not engaged in what you are saying. NO!! More often than not he is considering your words from an angle even mathematicians would have a hard time describing. His replies to your questions may be delayed...lucky are those that have the patience to wait for his astounding and wonderful thoughts to make their way out! 

Does my heart ache for him and his difficulties? OF COURSE. I don't want to give the impression that I am all sunshine and roses about autism. My son has so many difficulties with so many things I absolutely feel frustrated and hurt and angry with and for him in difficult moments; but I refuse to dwell in it! THERE IS NO CURE. I am here to help him find his way through *his* world, to find *his* path, to make *his* mark on the world. No matter how many times I  hear it said that these autism kids have to learn how to function in the "real world", I will always respond "says who?" Trying to force a square peg into a round hole causes something to break. Even worse is that usually the square peg is cut and sanded into a circle to fit that round hole. Even then it is different--the fit is never quite right and everyone knows exactly which peg isn't really round. Keep them square. Look at the edges and corners and realize that peg could hold things on it's own, or fit that entire board of pre-drilled round holes together with another pre-drilled board. 

Believe me when I say I'd like to know why autism is so prevalent in our world today, and why it is on the rise. If there is something specifically causing autism, let's find it and fix that! But for the kids that are already here with us I prefer to love them and appreciate the beauty and wisdom that can be found inside.

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