Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I have for a long time viewed autism differently than the general population. I do not see it as something that has stolen my child or a fate worse than death as I have seen it portrayed in mainstream media. Autism has been described by many autistic adults as being an essential component of their personality, comparable to gender. It colors every thought, every action and every reaction. I have long felt a kinship with Sean and other autistic people. I have read so much and talked to so many autistic people and feel that I am either autistic myself or at least have many of the characteristics. If I do have autism I can see how it is an essential component of one's whole being and can't be separated from who a person is. I do see the world differently than almost everyone I know and maybe that is because I am autistic. Do I think that autism shouldn't be treated? No. I really feel that with the right interventions and acceptance and support autistic people can live full, productive lives full of love and joy. What interventions are the right ones? I can't answer that because each autistic individual has different needs and strengths. Having a means of communication is probably in my opinion the most important thing one can teach an autistic person. The next most important thing is to approach behavior from a totally different perspective. Making sure the child medically, sensory and nutritionally healthy is also of vital importance. A child in pain is a child who can't learn and will act out. Much of what I have learned about myself I have seen first hand in my child. I am amazed at his brilliant mind and totally confused by his limitations, but I accept him as he is and try each day to let him know that I love him and will help him to the best of my ability. I ran across a website about a movie that debates these issues.