Sunday, August 29, 2010

What is essential is invisible to the eye...

Link to Morton Ann Gernsbacher's short article by clicking on the above link.  She is on page 10-11, I believe, and this was written 6 years ago.

We are "like babies" when it comes to autism, as Neytiri would say of Jake Sully in AVATAR, Ben's favorite film. We are punitive, rather than doing the hard work of grown-ups.  Rather than see in whole what is before us in the autistic child, we punish the parts we don't like.

I've seen the magic of seeing what is inside a person who is unable to communicate the richness within, probably because of the Hub and especially Amanda Baggs. Paige, who is severely compromised by Cerebral Palsy, allowed me into her world when I taught a PMD (Profoundly Mentally Disabled) classroom. Turns out she is "profoundly physically disabled" to the point of having NO reliable form of communication.

It is magic, like "shock and awe" to the psyche. You are forever changed...

For my son Benjamin, it wasn't quite as apparent, as there was so much fear and denial and just goofy stuff mixed in. But the "universe" or God or even just my heart spoke to me:  "The really smart ones start off different".  They have less in common with "normal" or average than they do with those deteremined to be at the lower end of the the bell curve.  Probably because few ever come back from visiting that country without pre-determined ideas left untouched.

I hope this isn't too confusing.  I feel as though I'm babbling.


Casdok said...

Yes we certainly do have a lot more to learn about autism.
I also really loved Avatar :)

r.b. said...

Thanks, Casdok.

Thanks for bringing my attention to DJ Kirby's book.

Stuart said...

Thanks for an inspiring post!

The part about the punitive attitude and 'punishing the part which you dislike' is so true, and really resonated with me. As a parent of a six-year old autistic boy, I am often faced with disruptive behaviour patterns which just suck up disproportionate amounts time and energy.

When this behaviour is consistent and robs you of much that neuro-typical kids don't (my other son is NT and is muuuuuch easier to spend time with), it is surely natural to sometimes resent it. I can become keenly aware of the unfairness of it all at that moment.

However, like you say - we need to be adults. It is the childlike part of us that wants to run away, and I think it is a natural response to want some of your time for you. Take that time away long enough (and consistently enough) and we kick back at the cause somehow, even indirectly or without realising that is the reason at the time.

It could be eating or drinking more than we should, giving into urges or desires for reward or simply losing tempers more quickly. These are kind of animal responses - just like an unfiltered 'autistic' response in a way.

We become better people when we spot this and don't allow it to take over I believe. I can't always do it - I am only human. But I feel better when I spot this feeling of helplessness and recognise it. My child has autism, but there is more to him than that. I can't just get distracted by the early starts or the sudden mood swings at the expense of having time with my son.

r.b. said...

When my son was 6 or 7, we belonged to a prayer group, and I had the nagging feeling instead of praying for him to change, it was me that needed to change.And...I needed to forgive him for not matching my ideas of the child I thought I wanted. I wasn't exactly the mother he wanted, I KNOW!!!

Thanks for your comment, Stuart. You've given me an idea for a new post.

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