Monday, January 10, 2011

some words to chew on

Today I wore this to work out...

Except half way to gym, which is 30 minutes away, I decided that the lil' guy in the back was hacking to much to bring him to the kids' club.

No work out for mama: Bummer.

Sick kiddo: Bigger Bummer.

Solution: Do Zumba on the wii at my friend's house after I tutored her third grade son.

Simple enough, right?

Well, clearly not so much.

Her son has autism.

Just like my Luke.

And no they are not like Rainman (written with a smile).

Autism is a spectrum of behaviors that range from very mild to very severe.

My friend's son saw my shirt and asked me one of the most difficult questions I have ever had to answer in my life.

"Why would they want to take down autism?"

For him and all the others with autism, finding a "cure" doesn't make sense. They are quite content being who the are. They don't need to be changed.

They need acceptance.

So I explained to him that autism makes his brain see things differently from others in the world and that it makes him extra special.

I also explained that each one of us has traits that are different from others. We each have talents and we each have weaknesses.

Autism or not.

I spent the 1st few years of Luke's diagnosis desperately trying to cure him. Shame on me.

Having Asperger's (mild form of autism) gives him incredible talents. Why would I want to cure that?

Instead I want to spend my energy fighting to make the world know that different is okay.

As my friend's son so simply asked, "Isn't autism part of my personality?" He couldn't understand why I'd wear a shirt that wanted to take down who he is. This is a 9 year old. Amazing.

Instead of taking down autism, I want to take down discrimination. I want my friend's son, our Luke, and all the other spectrum kiddos to know that they are loved and accepted for who they are.

We don't want to change Luke and we certainly don't want to take down his autism. After all, we don't want to take down Luke. We don't want to take down his amazing talents and perspective. He was put together and perfectly made. We don't doubt that for a minute.

The power of words is mind blowing. And the insight and question from an introspective 9 year old, made me think harder than I have had to for a long time.

I hope you think about it too.

Much love,


Hershey's Moma said...

That is an incredible kid!
You are right, he has amazing talents and perspective.

Steve D said...

Katie -
Would you mind if I cross-post this to my (former) blog, One Dad's Opinion? I haven't posted there for a few years so I'm not sure I have any readers anymore, but the subject matter is certainly apropos, and I'm very proud of my son for asking those questions of you :)

Geoff Fargo said...

Great insight, Katie, and yes, Steve, you still have readers. :)

Charla Liedahl said...

So well said! I love the little guy's perspective and yours!