When I look at autism and the way it is handled in our 21st century world, I believe that most aspects are misunderstood. People still see autism as a tragedy that brings with it suffering and pain.
My work as the mother of an autistic child and a doctor is to educate the world about what autism really is, what it means for us as a community, and the incredible potential that autism brings to light - for ourselves and our children.
It’s not an easy path to walk. I’ll be the first to admit that it has challenged me at times beyond what I thought I was capable of handling – but living with an autistic child has facilitated more profound growth, expansion and love than I ever thought was possible.
Great news: there is a new model for educating autistic kids and kids with ADD or ADHD in town.
Thanks to techniques like RPM (the Rapid Prompting Method), many non-verbal autistic people now have the techniques to communicate with their loved ones and caretakers through written language.
After years of being unable to clearly communicate, the ideas expressed by these individuals are simply astounding.
Have you ever noticed that when you feel stressed or angry your autistic child will reflect those emotions back to you tenfold?
Everybody believes that autistic kids have no empathy, but in fact, it’s the opposite.
In all the years I've been working with my autistic son, Jack, I've always felt this gnawing unease when it came to "accepting what is". For many years, I didn't realize that accepting his differences was not about giving up on him nor did it mean I was somehow surrendering to something less for him.
When I first learned that my son, Jack, had autism, I was devastated. Like most parents, I viewed autism as a terrible tragedy that had struck our family.
For years, I desperately tried to find ways to reverse his diagnosis, viewing it as a blight instead of seeing it for what it really is: an incredible opportunity.
Over the last few years, I have become pen pals with a 21-year-old autistic man named João. João lives in Portugal with his mother, he is non-verbal, "severely" autistic... and a brilliant writer.
Here is what João wrote to me about his physical experience:
It’s time to change the conversation about autism.
Let’s start with something that I believe is extremely important: autism understanding.
To be clear, autism awareness is important – but there’s a difference between being aware of autism and striving to understand it.
I have a friend in Portugal named João. I met his mother, Helena first. She reached out to me after reading my book,Awakened by Autism (Hay House, 2015) because she said she felt great hope. She said we shared a common vision about autism and we became good friends. Then one day she said her son wrote me a letter.