Wednesday, December 14, 2011


So yesterday, while moaning, I promised a more cheery post today - here goes.

Hard to miss the joy in this picture of an autistic kid, eh?
 Among the autism tweeps I follow, #AutsimPride was trending, with 140 character snippets about how people with autism are not a tragedy, but are pretty inspiring. Here's my own tweet:
  • My son has the most independent mind & best smile. He is brilliant and honest. He's taught me so much about patience & empathy #autismpride
A little background. On December 6th, a court in Colorado found that a mom, who murdered her autistic infant son, would not stand trial for murder. You can read more here. Infanticide of autistic kids is not that uncommon of an event. The tragedy triggered one of the aut-rent bloggers that I follow to to post this and call for everyone who was also appalled to "Vanquish the forces of autism evil! Declare your #AutismPride" The basic concept is not to deny that autism can be a big challenge, but to be vocal about the up-sides as well. We need to be vocal to counter the popular perception of "the tragedy of autism". That popular perception kills people, as it did in Colorado.

I think it's hard not to get caught up in our personal problems. Heck, yesterday's post was one giant whine-fest. That does not mean my life, or my son, is a tragedy. He brings me joy and I am proud of him. Did I tell you he made the Honor Roll first quarter? But I'll go a step further - I am not proud of him in spite of his autism, I am proud of him as a whole, including his autism. If I list the things about him that bring me pride, you'll see how autism is integral to them:
  • He is genuine every minute of every day - he doesn't have the ability to put on a show that isn't honest
  • He can access almost anything he's seen or heard his entire life
  • He sees things as they really are, not how we're supposed to see them, and this helps me understand
  • He lives in the moment - he remembers the past but he doesn't regret or hold grudges.
  • He never gets frustrated when people misjudge or underestimate him - he truly doesn't care
  • He likes people, but he is content to be by himself - I never worry about keeping him entertained
  • He's very smart - he taught himself to read, caught up academically after a placement that had no academics, he really gets the abstraction that is math even though his language is very limited
Autism is not a tragedy. Ignorance is the tragedy.

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