I haven't done one of these in a while and it's probably because I've been fighting some battles. Meetings with our Provincial Finance Minster, Education Minister, and an Administrator at our Local School District have taken me away from the blog. So my apologies.
I've been doing my absolute best to talk to folks about what it's like to have a child with Autism and here's what I've learned. "People" are hard to teach, but teaching a person is much easier. I'll let Tommy Lee Jones help me illustrate the point.
OK. So that's a little harsh, but what a hidden gem of insight, buried within a Hollywood blockbuster! I can remember watching that movie and thinking "Wait a minute what did he just say?!?!" I just came to the movies to eat popcorn and watch some aliens get blown up. It was kind of a cathartic moment for me. "People" are happy and comfortable with the realities that they've created either for themselves or by what's presented to them on television. Here are two examples; 1) Global Warming is a big problem and is starting to make people scared? Just re-brand it as "Global Climate Change" and watch as the issue gets swept under the rug and forgotten about. 2) Rates of Autism Diagnoses increasing at an alarming rate? Don't worry watch this video about a 12 year child doing math at the level of a PhD. Astrophysicist and watch as the masses take a collective sigh of relief.
So here's what I've learned as I put myself out there and been open and honest about what ASD (autism spectrum disorder) is. I can educate a Person, but I need to do a better job at educating People. People come with some pretty out there pre-existing ideas. All I can do is help them find the reality. The struggle is person to person at this point.
At this stage, we feel Kate is pretty safe. She's at a daycare with people who love her. Her family and extended family support the hell out of us and Kate. But, I'm scared about when she leaves her loving little world. The situation at M Spa that we've all heard about doesn't happen everyday. But I guarantee that other people at that spa that day were thinking. "Those parents should do a better job of controlling that child!!" Autism isn't something that is easily recognizable but it is easily misunderstood. There are no physical signs that would show the layperson that the person or child in front of them has ASD and the child may appear to be acting bad or abnormal. When humans are in a group, like a public place we don't like abnormal things. There is an expectation of how a person should act. We can get scared and unpredictable and yes even a little dumb when confronted with someone acting different.
I believe that people with Autism can help us all be a little less scared, a little smarter, a little more accepting and ultimately a whole lot better.