Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Autism is About Neuro-Diversity

There were some key concepts and words in this Ted talk from Steve Silberman,The forgotten history of autism, that I had to jot down, because they really resonated with my experiences and how I have come to understand autism. I do not 'seek a cure for autism,' because I don't think it is a puzzle to solve, a problem to fix. Autism is neuro-diveristy.

I've shared small bits of our family's autism story, a chapter in what has become a lengthy, rich book. I've been addressed as the refrigerator mother, and we have met doctors and educational professionals who scared us, shamed us, misled us. So, when Steve Silberman says, "[Seventy] years later, we're still catching up to Asperger, who believed that the "cure" for the most disabling aspects of autism is to be found in understanding teachers, accommodating employers, supportive communities, and parents who have faith in their children's potential," I feel a catch in my throat, and know that we did alright, we made good choices for our children, and it's such a huge relief, and a healing affirmation to hear someone else acknowledge this.

Faith in children's potential is one of the greatest driving forces in everything I do, promote, and am motivated by. Diversity... it's a gift, not a puzzle. Every time autism has been a "problem," the real issue has been about someone not fitting a prescribed mold, a construct of some institution that only functions by managing the most people with the greatest common profile... like most schools, like factories. The problem is not the person with autism; the problem is inflexibility in the system. Thank goodness we have been able to see other possibilities, been willing to create new paths. {Maybe I am defensive, feel a bit beat-up... it's been a hell of a journey, one we are still taking. It's not easy, it's not normal, typical. That's alright. I've come to love and cherish all of this neuro-diveristy I see around me. I hope anyone else out there, feeling different, can find places and people where they are met with faith, understanding, and support.


ArtyZen said...

You trusted your instincts. Your instincts are good. Axxx

Unknown said...

You are a great mom & an amazing woman. I love that term: neuro-diversity.