Tag: equality education

World Autism Awareness Day-Exceptionally Lighting It Up Blue

Tomorrow,  Saturday, April 2nd, is World Autism Awareness Day. It is a day when a lot of focus will be on all the needs of those and their families who live with autism every day. There will be many articles highlighting the negative or stressful aspects of the syndrome, and its stresses on both the individual and their families. I don’t believe this is the full story though, as a lot of my Exceptional Parent friends will agree. They would echo me right now in my statements that our kids are wonderfully creative, versatile and amazing individuals, who have helped us look at life in a totally different and cool way. The problem is that the world, much of the world, still seeks for them to conform to what some call “normal” or “the right way.” This is no one right way to be yourself. Yes, there are social rules. Yes, there are ways we all have to conduct ourselves. But much of what our kids have to show the rest of us neuro typical and exceptional by association people, is that people’s brains all work a little differently. If we look at the world as one dimensional in all things, we will be missing out on so much. Unique abilities, strengths and ways of seeing the same thing differently and trying out new ways to fix a problem, are imperative for solving so many of the world’s issues that plague us now. I truly believe this deep down in my heart.

Every minute of every day Michael shows me a way to see things differently. Yes, sometimes these lessons are tinged with stress like when he isn’t listening. But now, that I am doing some detective work, real detective work,  I am able to dig into the reserves of patience I do have for someone not seeing the image before his eyes the same as me. An example of this is when I am tired or irritated, either early morning or at night. Michael not really understanding how to read my facial cues, will always assume I am angry. Sometimes he has been right and I have realized I am being passive aggressive. I have mentally taken my hat off to him during those moments. However, at other times it has been exhausting to me that he can’t see, really see my facial expression. Then I realize, this is hard for him in the same way directions and finding my way are hard for me. So we use our two different brains to help one another. One is not better than another. Both are equal and have different strengths is all.

 

And I love his brain. I love how he is fearless, how he is inventive, how he is brave in a world that doesn’t always make sense to him. It doesn’t always make sense to me either!  What I don’t love is how some people draw conclusions about his strengths and weaknesses based on his verbal abilities, the school he goes to, the way he needs to move to calm down. I don’t like that there are so many people trying to “cure” Exceptional Children in general when that is not what they need. They need understanding, learning tools, and people to accept them for all they are. All of our kids can do amazing things in their own way.

Exceptional Parents, how will you be marking World Autism Awareness Day? Will you be lighting it up blue?  I will! I will also be doing the same thing I do every day with my family,  such as living with and embracing autism as I do all the other characteristics my little guy was born with, his bright brown eyes and hair, his quirky sense of humor, his love of directions, reading and music, and now astronomy. I will be thinking, praying and sending good thoughts and vibes to all the amazing people I know who have autism and who live with someone who has autism as well. Until next time.

 

Dual Identities on International Women’s Day-Exceptional and Otherwise

 

So today is International Women’s Day! Happy International Women’s Day to all the Moms out there, all the female caregivers and women in caring professions and other professions. As a feminist and a Mom, I finally see myself coming together as a woman. Feminist causes were at the top of my list before having Michael and before autism came in our lives. Then it moved to the top of the list. I often felt like less of a feminist than I used to be, as my Mom role overshadowed everything in advocating for Michael and for our family. Then I realized one day recently, I am still a feminist, and a humanist. In advocating for Michael I have learned how to advocate for myself as well. In learning how to speak, I am learning how to help other women speak out, help their children, help their families, help themselves.

There is still so much inequality in the world. It is not International Women’s Day everywhere in the world, and still much work to be done to help women advocate for themselves, their families, and the societies. Things like raising your family, taking care of your children, can be, and should be considered, as much a  part of your feminist identity as you job, wages and other issues you are passionate about. Men, fathers, male caregivers can also embrace this label of feminist, as the men of this generation increasingly work alongside women in sharing responsibilities, raising children together, Exceptional or otherwise, and realizing that for full potential and realization, both sexes need to be free to be who they are, and teach their boys and girls to feel free to be who they can become as well.

 

I have said this before many times, but I have felt it more in the past few days. As Michael has been working his miracle in raising me to come out of my shell, I have seen what true human spirit feels like, truly feeling whole, equal and engaged. I have never wanted more to make a difference in the world for women, for children, for all people, than since I became a Mom. My self-growth has been rocky at times, scary at others, but I have enjoyed this ride and continue to enjoy the journey of getting to know myself more each day while teaching others what I know and spreading the joy around. After all, it was the great Maya Angelou who said: “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.” And that is what being an Exceptional Mom of an Exceptional Child has taught me. For all those who have given and taught me, I pass on the word every day. But today especially I think of all the women out there, all the Moms fighting for a better world for our children, our people, our planet. I salute all of you.

Exceptional Parents, how many of you give yourself a pat on the back for all the hard work you do with your Exceptional Children? Today is the day to do that if you haven’t already. All the Moms, Dads, caregivers out there fighting, nurturing, and helping to make the world a better place. Your children will shine and do shine every day because of what you do, and you shine because of what they are becoming. Until next time.