This last week I have experienced quite a shift internally. There is a particular way of thinking that, while I accepted it on the surface, I eschewed it internally. It was the thought that Autism isn't real. Okay. Now. Before you get as huffy as I did when I heard this, please bear with me. There are definitions that need to be explained and understood.
I have a particular friend who told me that I am presenting a paradox to you with each post. On one hand I say that Autism isn't what you think it is (see link). On the other hand I tell you that there are issues and problems unique to the world of Autism that need to be addressed. One post will tell you to see them not as Autistic, but as just having a different struggle than yourself. Another post will tell you to embrace the Autism in them and grow from that point.
To my friend all of these things seem opposing viewpoints. Our friendship has gone through a very stressful time because of it. There was one day, a couple of months ago, where a heated discussion ensued. From my end I felt like my life's work was being invalidated by someone close to me. From her end I was minimizing my work to be something much smaller than it is. It took me a few months to understand her but I do believe now that I understand her clearly.
I am going to quote for you the conversation we had the other evening (yes, I have her permission to do so). Thankfully it was had over chat, so I have an exact recounting of the conversation. I have added some emphasis to a couple of things, and pulled out a couple of highly personal exchanges (I say highly personal, because really the entire thing is very personal), but other than that this is verbatim. It is still very personal and I hope you will treat it with the respect such an open and candid sharing deserves.
My Friend: I read your blog post about last night. How are you feeling about the whole thing now?
I really feel like it needs to be established that there is NOTHING developmentally wrong with kids diagnosed with autism. Yes, they understand life through a different language (JUST LIKE WE ALL DO, only there's been established this ONE way of doing things and those that can't comply are told there's something wrong with them; what if we lived in a world where it was thought normal to think and communicate with your heart and those of us who didn't naturally speak that language were thought to be dysfunctional???), it's true, but where in that quest to help parents and children understand one another does there need to be this emotional distinction of "You're different, so I will learn your language so we can exist more easily within the "normal" realm of things. Isn't all of this ABOUT dashing "Normalcy" to pieces and empowering everyone to broaden and create new, beautiful things?
I wonder, then, how best to begin this view. It is bold and truth, sure. But it is also something that I don't know how to put into words yet. I see it. I want to share it, but I keep getting stuck in the moment of something and then I forget what it was I originally wanted to say. Or I let my own emotions pull me for a moment and then I get lost.
I need a splash of your words often I think. I wish I could keep the picture as clear as you do. Or maybe I don't want to keep it that clear because of some purpose it is serving me by being this way. What that purpose is, I've no idea yet. But that will come as I ask, I'm sure.
Starting today, I am going to throw out all terms created by science. Because, in my experience, there are really only two kinds of people and each kind has two ways of acting. There are people who understand life with their hearts and there are people understand life with their heads. Neither one is better than the other...both are essential to the progression of mankind. Both have roles to fill that cannot be filled by the other. Within each way of thinking are those who are open and those who are closed and they exist on a myriad of levels of being open or closed. Those who lead with their head but are trying to lead with their hearts instead, or vice versa, are most closed.
Now, we all need to have both voices working within us. No one should be all head or all heart. The goal is to find that balance where both heart and head have a say, but the one that is dominant within each of us should have the instinctual voice. What I'm trying to say is that if I lead with my head, I will find that my intuition is based in logic. If I lead with my heart, then I will find that my intuition is based in feeling.
The key to understanding any person is opening ourselves up to our intuitive voice and allowing that voice to have a say in our decisions. When I am working with people....and yes, it's just people - according to the definitions of science I work with any level of the spectrum, including those who are not on it - there is no distinction in my heart....so, when I am working with people, I have two reactions. My brain kicks in and starts to analyze everything and think and sort through past cases and current cases...trying to find where to start. My heart, however, just knows. If I let my heart lead, I instantly know what to do and how to do it. And then later, after the work is decided, my brain catches up and not only sees the logic in it, but agrees completely with my heart. It's a matter of letting my strongest part lead rather than my weakest part.
So this is the start of telling things as I really see them. Each of you has intuition that is meant to help you navigate through every experience of your life. No matter the experience. Whether it is within your home or within your community or a reaction to world happenings. Once you find that voice of intuition within you, if you will encourage and strengthen it, you will find life much easier to navigate.
This is what I do. This is how I help. I teach parents to hear their intuitive self and then they know, instinctively, what to do for their children. If they listen to that voice, they find themselves able to know how to help those around them progress. There is no spectrum. Or we are ALL on the spectrum (see link). Take your pick. But that is the truth. All of us are progressing in our own way, at our own rate, in our own direction. What is wonderful about many of these children is that they are so very in tune with their intuition that it overrides all other cognitive functions. If you will get in touch with your intuition, you will know what it is that they are reacting to. You will know how to help them and what to do to encourage them to embrace both worlds they live in...the physical world that you can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. And the spiritual, ethereal, energy-based world that is sensed by heart and/or mind connecting to things that are not known by the 5 senses.
Embrace your intuitive self. Each of you has it. Each of you was bestowed with this gift at birth. In one order of thought it is called your Higher Self, in another it is the Eternal Within, in another the Light of Christ, or a million other terms. But ALL spiritual and religious schools of thought agree that it does exist, and it does exist in every one of us. So search it out. Embrace it. Liberate that voice and trust the instincts which come.
When you embrace this part of yourself, you are not only embracing who will help your child the most, but you are embracing who you are meant to be. You are telling God, the Universe, the Energy Source, the Karmic Transference....you are saying, "HERE I AM!" By embracing who I am, I become my best self and give others around me the courage to do the same. I become who I am best suited to be - whatever form of physical expression it takes on really doesn't matter. This is the world we will create. A world that is based in each person embracing their best selves and letting that light shine. These precious people who come to us so very different can either be put into a box and told they have a disease, a problem that makes them different. Or they can be given the chance to be great as they are and to be seen for the magnificent, perfect beings they are. In accepting them, we learn to accept ourselves.
Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” If you watched a person trying to force a fish to climb a tree, would you question the intelligence of the fish or the person holding it? An Autism diagnosis is not a list of things that are wrong with a person that we take them to therapy to cure. It is a list of things that tells a fish it ought to be a monkey. It is a box that shames those of us who would swim instead of climb.
Can you imagine the glory you have within you? And the glory you are surrounded by? What would this earth and it's many societies become if each of us simply found our true voice and let it sing? I promise to you today, to do just that. Won't you join me?