Sometimes the concept of ‘seeing the forest through the trees’…is not as cut and dried as people expect. Much like the perspective I gain from the above photo. Photo description of: My son Wyatt with his ‘dangly stimmer’ held high atop Angel Stadium, as he watches the big bright California sun go down. Everyone else mostly focusing on the active diamond on the ground. My gem of a boy watching this active diamond he can fluctuate and control with his actions, in the sky. His version of Wyatt in the sky with diamonds. People enjoying gems of life together and separately on their own ‘respective’ playing fields. That’s what my son and I do everyday, all day long. People should be able to see things that are important to them in the ways they want to see them, the ways that their system desires to experience them.
Some see this type of Acceptance as a blessing and a curse. I believe people should see through that saying.
I have seen this phrase used in regards to Autistic people and it is inaccurate.
A prime example of it has been a constant in my teen-aged, non-speaking son’s life. Often times when an Autistic student reaches a comfort level working with an aide more often than not…that aide is moved to another student, re-shuffling the deck for the ‘comfortable student.’ Forcing the Autistic person to constantly be in a comfort flux… on top of their “comfort flux” which IS their Autism. When a comfortable level of understanding has been achieved professionals prefer the Autistic person does not become used to that level of comfort. The professional fear of a student becoming “dependent” on one person causes disruption to Autistic students daily. (?) Have you heard of anything more absurd? An Autistic person spends a majority of time in discomfort. When comfort levels are discovered the thought process should be…let’s replicate that comfort that has been achieved. Not, pretend it didn’t happen so the student won’t get “used to it” in case someone else is not able to replicate it later. To me that is THE CURSE added to a blessing for no good reason other than incompetency.
This does one thing. Breaks my heart into pieces. To know that the majority of my son’s life has been a re-do. One do-over after another, with Carol, Brian, Peter, Tom, Dick and Harry…. Because the mindset dictates it’s a blessing and a curse to be dependent on one aide or one teacher. As if student’s that are understood by one person will never be understood by another? This mindset admits to and makes excuses for the horrific and wild inconsistencies in the life of many Autistic students.
In March of this year this factoid became very painful for Wyatt and I. Greg, the best aide to ever walk into Wyatt’s life received an offer of a much better job. Of course I am biased and think working with my son is the best job ever however, Greg moved on and we were blessed to have had Greg for nearly two full years!
You see, Greg was on the Spectrum. He understood Autism and my boy, from the inside out. It was very apparent to me that Greg understood everything I described to him about Wyatt and the ways in which he regulates his daily fluctuating sensitivities, without words.
From day one, I knew there was something Wyatt and I liked about Greg. Greg always knew what Wyatt was thinking because he was seeing Wyatt, as I do. As fully human. Greg presumed competence and respected Wyatt’s Autism, his point of view. He knew their were and are reasons for all communication and action. As anyone respecting the Autistic POV does.
Greg has been gone for 6 weeks now and Wyatt’s staff is still in flux. Temporary aide stacked on top of temporary aide training each other on Wyatt’s ways. These last 6 weeks have felt like a sped up version of all of the other years BG. ” Before Greg.” That never stabilizing staff merry-go-round of people switching Wyatt from horse to horse.
Just last month my son was having a hard time with this new ‘team’ of one-on one aides trying to figure him out. He was acting out amidst their confusion (after all one-on-one aides should not come in ‘teams’ right?!) I saw this clearly as they all seemed clueless when I arrived to pick him up. I was greeted by a “behaviorist” that had never seen Wyatt before though clearly there to ‘save the day.’ She promptly and predictably told me that it was a “Blessing and a Curse” that Greg had understood Wyatt so well.
No, in fact it was a blessing.
The curse comes when staff doesn’t understand and utilize the Autistic point of view.
I don’t need any letters or degrees tacked on after my name to KNOW THAT CRUCIAL TRUTH.