Autism is not exclusively the realm of children, despite what the media puts forth. Autistic children grow into autistic adults. Crazy notion, eh?
There is no one autism. There are hallmarks that allow for diagnosis, but the adage told to people just becoming familiar with the autism community easily holds true: When you meet one person with autism, you meet one person with autism.
What works for J may or may not work for his classmates, just as what works for them may not work for J. This is life. Don’t we all deal with this every day? He is cut from his very own unique piece of cloth and he’s going to forge his own way whether any of the rest of the world likes it or not. It’s my job, and the job of anyone who actually loves him, to be at his side willing to help him find what he needs to do that.
Unlike the images that Autism Speaks puts forth, I see his future and that of his peers as tremendously exciting. The world is vast, and the possibilities are endless. I see this because I see so many adults with autism sharing their stories, their struggles and their successes. They lay facets of their life bare for the world to see to show just what can be, and for that I am both awed and amazed. Awed, because of the bravery it takes to be honest in a world that is dominated by people who’d wish to marginalize them and amazed because they’ve all showed me I do not have anything to be scared of.
J’s path will intersect with many other autistic experiences but it will run it’s very own course. He will grow from a boy into a man and I am so curious to see who that man shall be. I cannot say I am eager, for I do not want my dear little guy to grow up too fast on me, but I am excited. It’s like being deeply engrossed in a wonderful series of books: each book is so exciting, and you keep giddily awaiting the next volume to find out just what the protagonist will do next.
This is our autism. We don’t need to wear blue. We just need to live out loud and show the world the beauty we’ve found.