This was originally posted at http://trydefyinggravity.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/change-your-mind/ and is reprinted here with permission of the author.
An e-mail from the amazing writer at Outrunning The Storm:
A few weeks back, I got in one of my Google search term stats “I wish I didn’t have Asperger’s”. It’s not the first time I’ve gotten something similar sadly. But, this time I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I don’t know for sure which post of mine they found but I do know it wasn’t what I want to say to this person. I spent some time talking with some blog friends of mine…and we came up with the idea of all posting a letter to this person with a title that would get Google to pull something positive.
Her e-mail made me sit back in my chair and think. Those of us who write online know there are all sorts of ways that direct people to our blogs. One of the top search terms that sends people my way (after several variations of “Try Defying Gravity”) is “Squirrels In My Pants”, thanks to a post I wrote using that song. I feel terrible for the people looking for Phineas and Ferb who have somehow stumbled upon me and my stories.
But this search term “I wish I didn’t have Asperger’s” is different. And it made me stop for a moment.
Who wrote this?
Was it a child with Asperger’s who was struggling and in pain? Was it a parent responding to a statement made by their child? Was it a teacher? An adult? Someone with Asperger’s looking to counsel someone who was not happy?
Who wrote it?
The thoughts swirled in my head, and at first I wasn’t sure I could write anything. Without knowing the audience, what could I say?
Then I realized it didn’t matter who wrote it. Someone did. And whomever it was needed to know that a) it was okay to search for help and support online, and b) when they searched for that support, they needed to find love and acceptance and understanding.
But what to say?
I can only speak as a parent of two children with autism spectrum disorder.
I can tell our google friends how incredible my kids are. That with every turn they astound me with what they know and what they can do.
And I can tell them that I know that there are days when it is hard. Very very hard. I watch my kids struggle with conversations and team sports. The things that Dr. Stephen Shore calls “The Hidden Curriculum” – the unwritten social interactions that can confuse so many.
But those struggles morph into incredible insights and perspective and success. I have seen it.
It’s better to hear from the people who know it best.
Listen to Dr. Stephen Shore talk about his life here:
Or perhaps…just watch this:
To the person who wrote “I Wish I Didn’t Have Asperger’s”…
I hope you’re finding the love, support and hope you need. You have a whole community here to love and embrace you for who you are.
And hopefully we’ll help change your mind.
Did you ever think
There might be another way
To just feel better,
Just feel better about today
If you never want to have
To turn and go away
You might feel better,
Might feel better if you stay.” – Change Your Mind by Sister Hazel