Friday, June 19, 2015

Sitting With Chickens

I visit our chickens everyday. To feed them, to check their water, to collect eggs, and scoop chickenblogs. The goats, too, get regular visits and attention from me. But sometimes I sit with them, because they make the world, problems, stresses, frustrations, and shock, a little easier to face. I can watch them go about their silly and simple lives, and feel my breathing slow, my heart calm. They don't fuss if I'm crying, they don't say cliched things, or tell me to feel better. They take me as I am, flaws and all. Flaws and all... there's something to that. Chickens are great, and they are flawed, but there is no pretense, no shame. They don't wax, or wear concealer. A chicken doesn't get worked up over social media posts, or judge your style. If they could vote, they'd endorse clean air, clean water, clean food, room for everyone on good roosts. So, when I am with them, I find I can be myself, too, and appreciate the essentials, let go of judgement, self-conscious cares. And I can resolve issues, fix problems, manage to make an appreciable difference in their lives... that feels good, it's gratifying. It's encouraging.

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.