If you had asked me September 7, 2010 to name any adults with autism, I probably would have told you I had heard a story about Temple Grandin on NPR once and seen a few tv clips about some various savants I couldn’t name.
Then on September 8, 2010 my son was diagnosed with aspergers syndrome. I wasn’t expecting it and I knew very little about it. I remember the developmental pediatrician at the time telling us about her husband, who has aspergers, as a way of helping to orient us. I remember looking around her office, somewhat desperately, trying to see a picture of him. I needed to see a face, to know what this would look like, to feel like my son could be ok.
The weeks that followed I read everything I could get my hands on by Temple Grandin, Dawn Prince-Hughes, and John Elder Robison. It was a life line for me to feel that Charlie was not alone, that others had made their way successfully in the world before him.
I needed to see these faces and hear these voices.
But, it’s more than that.
“You can’t be what you can’t see.”
-Marian Wright Edelman
It’s about my son. I don’t want the only things he sees associated with the word autism to be words like
I want him to see the faces, hear the voices , hear the stories of autism.
All of them.
He needs these voices to be there. He needs to know that he is not the first kid who would rather talk about the cosmos than play soccer. He needs to know when he sits alone on the school bus and the kids taunt him for being weird, that he is not alone, that others have overcome this before him. He needs someone to ask for strategies when the rooms are too loud and the smells are too strong.
He needs role models.
He needs community.
Because no matter how much I love him. No matter how much I try to learn, to understand, there are things that I will never get.
And when those things happen I am grateful that there are people out there who can understand him. That there are open arms of a diverse and rich community waiting to receive him.
I am thankful for those voices.
So, for world autism acceptance day today, I’d like to share a few of my favorite voices with you. Posts written by autistic bloggers, some of whom I am so pleased to call friends.
There are so many other voices out there, I could not get to them all, but I would urge you, if you have a favorite I missed, to please link up in the comments.
The Third Glance: Words and My Diagnosis Story Part 2: discovery and understanding and The Third Glance and, ok, I’ve said it before, you should read the whole blog. Really.
Aspie Kid: Two Autisms about the difference between the public perception of autism and his reality and how that can make it difficult to identify as autistic publicly.
nominatissima: the very touching Letter to D about an autistic boy she met in a daycare.
aspie rhetor: Socializing through silence
Autistic Hoya: Letter to the parents of autistic children
Inner Aspie: Different Perspectives: Eye Contact
The Aspie Side of Life: Hiding in Plain Sight
i have aspergers: What Does Asperger’s Feel Like
Norway Aspie: more humor The social rules of an aspie -society
The Autcast: 50 Inspiring Autistic People of 2011