All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there...Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison...I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

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08 March 2009

Mourning Difference

Since when does pity keep a good thing coming? Pity party? No thanks!

Rather than mourning what is different, we should first attempt to understand what is different.

Imagine you are about to embark on what you hope will be your best vacation ever. You've planned for almost a year. Everything is in order from A to Z. All of your hard work and detailed plans are culminating. Perhaps you're feeling a mix of excitement and trepidation, but most of all you're ready to get the show on the road.

Your plane has departed and you're off to Tahiti, Greece, China, France, Africa, or wherever it was you made plans to visit. Your big day has finally begun.

As the plane touches down for a landing, you realize that you cannot possibly be at your scheduled destination. You begin to panic as you come to see that the place you have arrived at is neither what you planned nor expected. You rack your brain trying to figure out what has gone wrong. Only there is no tangible explanation. You've done everything you could possibly have done. You demand answers, and maybe you even stomp your feet a bit, but only to learn that you're definitely stranded. You have no choice but to make the best of things. What are you going to do?

A. Go into denial.

*If you have chosen this option, immediately terminate your reading of this blog. Best wishes to you and yours.

B. Continue exhausting your options to no avail.

*If you choose this option, just scroll down and watch the video clip. Maybe it will relax your mind for a minute or two.

C. Accept this change and find out where the locals go to parrr-tay (party for you laymen).

*If you have chosen this option, then pat yourself on the back and continue reading.

I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was younger. They were definitely an obsession for me. So, where am I going with this blog?

For parents, learning their child is autistic can bring out the worst, and for some, the best in life. Culture, environment, and personality are all directly related to how a family will deal with an autism diagnosis. Families are unique, and what works for one family may not work for another. Applying the one-shoe-fits-all theory to autism can breed disastrous results.

Is perpetual grief truly helpful and meaningful for those who are autistic?

There's a beautiful essay by Jim Sinclair titled "Don't Mourn For Us." I often recommend it to those touched by autism. The message of Sinclair's essay is to let people know that autism is not an appendage, an impenetrable wall, or death. Here is an excerpt:

"This is not my child that I expected and planned for. This is an alien child who landed in my life by accident. I don't know who this child is or what it will become. But I know it's a child, stranded in an alien world, without parents of its own kind to care for it. It needs someone to care for it, to teach it, to interpret and to advocate for it. And because this alien child happened to drop into my life, that job is mine if I want it."

Autistic people need acceptance, accommodation, access to appropriate education, innovation, integration, opportunity, and legal protection. Not pity.

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