Monday, April 15, 2013
Testimony to the power of Autism Acceptance
I'm grateful for all the parents of Autistic kids who have testified in their blogs about Autism Acceptance, but I have hesitated to blog about my experience parenting M, since I do not feel worthy of adequately documenting that experience and doing justice to her. My path to embracing neurodiversity and accepting/celebrating my Autistic daughter and my Autistic friends has been long and is still rocky, I continue to make mistakes as I attempt gradually to raise my understanding of my privilege, and to unpack and peel away the deep-seated ableism that has shaped the way I have grown up in our culture. I am grateful to all those who continue to build a strong Autistic "tribe" from which my daughter will be able to draw as she comes into her own adulthood, and I try every day to be a worthy ally to those who advocate so elegantly for Neurodiversity and Autism Acceptance.
A recent blog by Karla Fisher, which appeared earlier on this web site [http://autismacceptanceday.blogspot.com/2013/04/imagine-world-where-everyone-was.html], especially spoke to me in its observation that when parents embrace their children's neurodiversity rather than attempting to change them, the children blossom. There is no question that M has flourished more and more in the last couple of years as I have pushed away my former thoughts of "curing" or "defeating" Autism, and learned to understand her magnificent neurological uniqueness as an aspect of diversity that I can joyfully embrace. While I am saddened that it took me so long, I rejoice in our newfound connection.
And thus this image, which I offer as my testimony to the power of Autism Acceptance: M has been studying the violoncello for almost a year and a half now; her acquisition of skills has been unconventional, but it has been steady, and her justifiable pride can be glimpsed in her smile. As a musician, I rejoice in her unique Autistic connection to music, from which I am privileged to learn every day.
[description: a young Asian woman in her "tweens" is playing a violoncello with the assistance of a caucasian woman in her twenties, who is helping to hold the bow steady while the young Asian woman is guiding its motion with her hand; the young Asian woman has her fingers on the 'cello fingerboard, her feet are up on the chair-stool on which she is sitting; she is looking ahead very intently, and she has a slight and subtle smile on her face.]
Posted by Paula C. Durbin-Westby at 4:38 AM