As a mom to an incredibly cool Autistic teen I do this a lot. Fill in the blanks. The blanks in thinking that my neurotypical mind had never considered before giving birth to my Autistic son! Perhaps, that is why the infamous puzzle piece was assigned to Autism decades ago. People weren’t and still don’t fully ‘get it’ when it comes to what being Autistic means. How Autism is an integral part of a person. How it shifts a person’s perceptions, physically and mentally. How can we be expected to innerstand one and other’s thought processes and sensory issues without help from each other? Autistic people and non Autistic people come from differing points of view. One mind set cannot transform the other, and shouldn’t. Even if it was possible! I feel that Autism has become the focal point in aiding society to re-embrace that ancient knowing. The knowing that we are all from the same human family yet, we are all genetic originals and we act accordingly. Through technology we have the proof of this written into our own DNA codes. When it comes to considering the Autism Spectrum this concept should be from where we all begin.
Communication and thinking are rapidly evolving. Wrapping our brains around the inherent different communication and perception styles we all have is the key. Within this “thinking evolution” we are moving toward a new freedom. The freedom of fully understanding and embracing how integral these differences in people are and have been for humanity all along.
I fill in the blanks by speaking with my Autistic friends. No, not the kids in the morning circle at my son’s day camp or the students I have come to know through his years at school. Autistic adult friends whom I have come to know and respect as equals. Friends I have made on-line and in real life! Not assigned friends but, true friends. Friends I love and treasure more than people I have known my entire life. Friends that have enabled me an astounding glimpse into Autism and of life itself. The perspective that does not come naturally to my mind. The perspectives from their brains. The natural perspective of my non speaking son’s brain. Fascinating and life changing. It is an amazing thing; being so connected to a child without spoken words. Feeling so close to that child yet, just not able to fully comprehend all you would like to. It’s an even more amazing thing when the perspectives of Autistic people aid you in that regard by filling in the blanks! Putting words to what was sensed and experienced. Absolutely opening your eyes to something completely unconsidered. Rounding out the reasons things occur, or don’t occur. That’s the ”whole picture” perspective Autistic people proudly bring to the world and to the parents of other Autistics.
Talk about lighting up neurons!! This is why I so passionately defend and try to amplify the voice and experiences of my Autistic friends. I know how crucial their information is and just how valuable it can be to the masses. How life changing it can be for parents trapped in their own pity and grief. Most importantly how life-changing for the Autistic children of these parents still focusing on their pain and a perceived societal shame. This is why I become so frustrated when parents and organizations dismiss my friends beliefs and words with such disrespect. Autistic people have spent years trying to have their voices added to the conversation about Autism. The conversation about their own lives.
The most glaring example is Autism Speaks, the fully funded, most advertised Autism organization out here. An organization that decided to speak for people they don’t speak to. If you have followed this blog you have seen the current Boycott of Autism Speaks and that site HERE. Autistic people have asked Autism Speaks to consider their varied concerns repeatedly. SILENCE…is all they seem to receive. Silence that we do not see as golden! Autism Speaks presumes to support all people on the Autism Spectrum yet they are at odds with Autistic adults and have been for many years. Ironically using the slogan that it is “time to listen.” I continue to ask myself how this ridiculous irony is not a well known fact? That the world’s largest Autism organization will not address Autistic people, their concerns or their boycott. Long unwilling to share the AutismHWY with the passionate Autistic people driving the neurodiversity movement. Great people tirelessly working toward erasing the stigmas assigned to their lives by society and most certainly Autism Speaks marketing practices. Working together to gain civil rights and through their writings teach parents to nurture and do no harm to the Autistic generations to come! It is time for Autism Speaks and everyone else to listen to the great insights of our friends on the spectrum !
Is there anyone that needs to fill in the blanks more than AUTISM SPEAKS??….