Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Autism is the gateway into the world beyond the looking glass. It is a place where rules apply but not the logical ones we are used to obeying. I sometimes feel like Alice being led along by the likes of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum through this wild new world desperately trying to keep up and to comprehend their strange take on the manners and logic of this realm. The world of autism is frightening and it is dreadfully difficult to find one's footing. It can also be pretty cool. Autism is an irony.
I have met the best people along a path I never wanted to explore. My fellow travelers who have children with special needs are devoid of pretenses. They are honest. They are relevant. They are real. They are the strongest and most persistent people I know. They are also the most humble and the most aware of their own weaknesses. They are the people that have the most reason to scream yet seem to be the people who are most able to come up with logical clear arguments as to why a thing needs to be done a certain way for their child. The other parents along the road have the most reason to weep yet travel amid laughter. They have learned that a sense of humor is as essential as a walking stick along this journey.
I have learned to call attention to things society tells me are of little to no importance. In this upside down world, it is the small things that are of the mean the most. I clap when I see a baby point! I jump up and down in delight when I hear two and three word phrases! I have been known to stop shoppers in the aisle and compliment their little one on a great job using their words. I have learned the value of encouragement and love, things that society rates as substandard to prosperity and power. I have learned the value of stillness in a very loud world and yet I have rejoiced when my child uttered the word "No" instead of displaying his disapproval via aggressive behavior.
I have redefined vague phrases like low and high functioning. I have a different standard of what is important and what I most value for my child's education. Functionality has for the most part trumped academia. For every skill taught, I need to know how it will help my child progress in the real world. Success, progress, regress, independent, functional...these words been whittled away to their barest meaning. My standard has become basic and yet it is grueling. Isaac does not have time for educators to play. A skill must be proven useful to Isaac's reality in order to merit the award of functionality and the time to address it. I care less about high level math and much more about the social skill of waiting in line.
Ironies continue. I will share more as the blog progresses and my imagined comfort level with you, dear reader, grows. I will be honest. Ironically, you must decide if you really want me to be.