It’s the best day of the year for the autism community! Don’t believe the professionals when they look at you sternly and describe autism as a deficit, a disorder a dysfunction, a disease.
So we think Dr Temple Grandin – a multiple bestselling author, a professor of animal science, a campaigner for the welfare of animals in our livestock industry – suffers from a disorder, disease or dysfunction because she’s autistic? What a laughable thought!
Here is what Dr Grandin says about her autism:
Yet no one tell us the great gifts of autism when the diagnosis is given – not the parents, not the autists themselves. Instead a relentless process of breaking the spirit begins. Therapist constantly in front of the child saying “You’re a problem, your way of being is no good, you need to be different!”
The child hears this every, frikkin day. No Bueno, my friends. How do we build the leaders of tomorrow that way? For make no mistake, people on the autism spectrum will be the leaders of tomorrow.
And for the parents, they are constantly being told what their child can’t do, and being coerced into therapies that cost 100 bucks an hour, instead of being show simple things like how certain movements build the brain, how animal protein controls mood, how to set up the best sensory environment at home and how to teach in movement (all of which can be done for free, by us, with no need for mortgaging our house to pay someone else).
These professionals don’t seem to like autism very much. They see it as a fight they have to win.
Me, I love autism.
The gifts! Think of the incredible memory. Tell me you didn’t wish you, as a neuro-typical, had that kind of accurate recall. Think of the ability to focus! When an autistic person engages their intellect – wow – it locks on with a force that few neuro-typicals can match, because the autist is not distracted by silly social thoughts like “she’s prettier than me and had a PhD, or “he’s better looking than me and makes more money”
Being neuro-typical is no Holy Grail, my friends. Plenty of neuro-typicals chuck themselves off bridges or disappear down bottles or worse every year because of this terrible little voice, this inner critic always telling us we’re not good enough, will never be good enough, that always compares ourselves to others and finds that we come up short…
Being around autists gives we, neuro-typicals, a break from that destructive inner critic. Why? Because of the greatest gift that I see in autism – the Quiet Ego.
Take my son Rowan; it’s not as if he has no ego at all. But it’s so quiet, it’s so in the background. In neuro-science terms, he doesn’t press my or other peoples’ mirror neurons – the part of the brain that activates that horrible inner critic, which makes us compare ourselves constantly to others. Most people would have to go through about thirty years of rigorous spiritual practice to achieve this kind of Quiet Ego. Most autists I know are born this way – what a gift!
But a gift to whom exactly?
To we neuro-typicals of course! When we get a break from the mirror neurons, from that nasty little inner voice, we get a break from our relentless psychological pain.
Because that’s how many of we neuro-typicals go through life – in psychological pain and – sadly – causing psychological pain to those around us, which only makes our own pain worse.
Yet when we are around people like my son, and most other autists I know, this voice quietens, and the pain lessens and then…little by little…it goes away.
Is it any wonder that when you spend time with indigenous cultures like the Kalahari Bushmen or the horse tribes of Mongolia, as I have over many years, the healers and shamans are all people who exhibit neuro psychiatric symptoms? In fact their autism, schizophrenia, bi polar, epilepsy or other condition is precisely what qualifies them for the job.
Autism as a job qualification…Silicon Valley is catching on to this….
And these indigenous cultures don’t know that ‘woo woo’ or New Age means. They are way more practical than we are. They know survival. They don’t waste their time with stuff that doesn’t work. Their autists are the clan healers. And these people don’t die, when they are treated by the clan healer. They get better.
Which raises a final question: who is the therapist here?
Should we be paying autists a hundred bucks an hour to get a break from our psychological pain, instead of paying neuro typical people who can’t see their gifts? Have never looked for their gifts, never even talk about their gifts, a hundred bucks an hour to try and stop autistic people from being who they are – who try to kill these gifts? I’m not talking here about the wonderful therapists who do see the gifts, the value of autism, and who tirelessly work to teach useful life skills. These people are golden. But they are not the norm, sadly.
So who is the healer here? Do you have a healer in your family? I do and I thank the Good Lord for it every day.
So if you or someone you know gets a diagnosis of autism this year, put a bottle of champagne on ice, chill it well, and then pop it and raise a glass to the great gifts that God had blessed you with.
And tell us, here in this thread, the gifts that you have found in autism yourself….
Welcome to the adventure.