I just watched a brilliant documentary by HBO called "Autism: the Musical". I will put the link on the site soon so you can all check it out. What a complete breathe of fresh air.
A few comments I have....parents really want their children to be accepted and included in the world and truth is we must go to their world first before we can integrate these children into ours. If you can imagine, it is a little like visiting a foreign country. If you were to do that, you wouldn't insist that the country's people and customs immediately adjust to yours; indeed we have to find a way to adjust, speak the language and integrate into the culture in a functional way. Autism is like another culture, a different way of functioning or orientating within the world and it is up to us to understand how this world operates so that we might be better able to assist these children to adjust.
I liken the experience of autism to the experience of a 3D film....in their world colours pop out; shapes and items pop out; noises are accentuated; and smells are more intense....our environment is often not set up for children with autism. There is so much "stuff" around us that it is often a sensory minefield for these kids. We don't realise it but all this stuff, noises and our environment crowds us and children with autism make us aware that the world has indeed become a sensorily overloaded environment. Just go to a supermarket, or a shopping centre and it is so noisy where, even I often have difficulty with the noise, clutter and bombardment of advertising and selling hooks. The children remind us that the world is no longer a place of quiet and peace...and it is at their insistence that they push us to create a space for them that is more manageable.
When did we forget to sit in silence? When did we start to need so much stuff? Autism and those who have autism are simplistic in its nature; there is a no fuss; no bullshit attitude to these kids and people. Looking from this perspective, you can see how much they have to teach us?
So, when I take myself to the space of a child with autism, I find myself sitting in a space of quiet, of reflection, of intuition and of connection and I believe this is part of the message of connection that autism provides. It's a beautiful, serene and 'real' space to connect from and it strikes me that one of the biggest myths of autism is that they are socially disconnected. If anything they cause us to be more connected but in a real way; they just won't connect with us if we are not real. Remember the song..."even in the quietest moments" by Supertramp...the words go like this:
Even in the quietest moments
I wish I knew what I had to do
And even though the sun is shining
Well I feel the rain...here it comes again, dear
And even when you showed me
My heart was out of tune
For there's a shadow of doubt that't not letting me find you too soon
The music that you gave me
The language of my soul
Ohh Lord I want to be with you.
Won't you let me come in from the cold?
And even though the stars are listening
And the ocean's deep, I just go to sleep
And then I create a silent movie
You become the star, is that what you are, dear?
Your whisper tells a secret
Your laughter brings me joy
And a wonder of feeling I'm nature's own little boy....
And even when the song is over
Where have I been....was it just a dream?
And though your door is always open
Where do I begin....may I please come in, dear?
Autism and the child with autism...asks us "may I please come in, dear?" Will you understand me? Will you connect to me in a way I understand?
Will you come to my world and play? And when you do, what a wonder you'll discover and maybe, just maybe you'll learn more about yourself than you ever knew.