While my confidence is building in him, minute by minute, I'm less convinced of the compassion and emotional intelligence in the rest of the world.
So... I'm writing you a letter, people... I'm talking to you... but you don't have to look right at me 'cos I totally get that it's confronting sometimes.
I'll make it quick, because there's no point in sugar coating this stuff. This is my version of 'All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten', a book I loved and really believe in. I'm revising its message on the basis of my Mum's advice and my own life experience...
So... everything I need to know, I learned from autism.
- Be nice. And if you can't be nice, be as silent as possible.
- Think, before you judge.
- Give people as long as possible before you figure they can't or won't answer your question.
- Understand that being different isn't a challenge, or a choice... simply an expression of the being.
- If you feel like laughing at someone, consider laughing with them instead.
- If you can, ie. if you have the capacity and the skills, get over yourself.
- Live in the moment and be open to what happens.
- Don't be too loud, too fast or generally obnoxious unless you really have to be, and encourage your children to be the same.
- Know that what you have is awesome, but not everyone else has it.
- Be nice. Did I say that already.
My kid is great, and lucky and lovely. And he has significant challenges just getting through the day without having his heart stripped of all its capacity. Sure it's not terminal. But it feels like it sometimes. It takes a compassionate, emotionally intelligent world to let the Temple Grandins of this world rise above the idiotic standards by which competence is measured.
I know we are fortunate to live where we live and be loved by so many. I hope against hope that other families like ours can be afforded the same respect.
And if you think I'm being overly dramatic. Bite me.
Hang on... I just broke my first (and last rule). Ah crap, I hope my Mum's not reading this.