This post was originally posted at http://www.team-armstrong.blogspot.com/2012/04/autism-positivity.html and is reprinted here with permission of the author
Okay readers, once again, I am referring you to Leah Kelley’s blog for her INSPIRING words about embracing autism positively. Read what she said.
It took me a long time to embrace autism. And as you’ve read in many of my posts, it was because of fear. Reading Leah’s post got me thinking as to how I’ve embraced autism. And honesty, it was with my guards up, like a boxer going into the ring. Have I embraced it positively???
Race is getting older. We talk about autism with him. We have to because he needs to love himself for the amazing person he is. And I think when he’s on the playground at school, that’s a hard thing for him to do sometimes. Because kids can be mean, so he’s been going to recess with his guards up. We both have our guards up. And we’re both having to learn to relax, and embrace autism positively.
This month is Autism Awareness Month. Race and I went around to the classes in his school and talked about autism. He had plenty to say about it too: he told the fifth grade class that he has a hard time talking sometimes, and sometimes he gets crazy when it’s really loud. It was pretty awesome when he got to show off his map and geography skills to the older classes. They thought it was pretty amazing. I still watch him with complete amazement, as he studies his atlas, and when asked, can instantly point out Papua New Guinea or Qatar or Malawi or just name a country for him and he’ll probably know it.
Race, you are amazing. And part of what makes you amazing is your autism. You have so much to offer the world, and so much to teach all of us.
Another thing I don’t talk about enough is how Race’s autism effects Witten. All too often, we read or hear about how siblings of autistic kids are resentful because of the attention that is demanded from parents. We talk to Witten about autism. I really feel it is just as important for Witt to embrace autism as it is for Race. I try to catch Witt, in those moments when he is confused and frustrated by his brother and the way he does things; and we’ll go talk, or go on a date.
Witten, you are amazing. And you’re more patient than people give you credit for. Because you are in so many ways, a big brother to your big brother.
In the New York Times there was an article talking about how autism in families has a higher stress rate than having other disabilities within the family. I think that by embracing autism positively, stress can be lessened. And by John and I knowing this, and being aware of this, our family can only get stronger.
Embracing autism positively will only make us stronger