P o n d e r i n g s
I believe that if we in the autism community are to ever achieve a higher quality of living for everyone in our community, it will only be through working together rather than separately.
Some say that autism is the invisible disorder - and it may be to those not immediately affected by it. For those within the community, however, it is anything but that. A divorce rate of 80% among such families is only one consequence of the seemingly limitless stress felt by everyone associated with the disorder. High rates of burnout among educational staff is another.
I recall once, I was invited to observe an Individualized Education Plan meeting for my first time. I was amazed. On the one side of the room was the child's family, along with some lawyers and psychologists. On the other side were the school staff, with their own set of experts. Anger and hurt reflected in the eyes of those present. I could see the mother wring her hands in frustration, wondering aloud why the school was so unwilling to cooperate. A staffmember at the other table rubbed her temple, asking to no one in particular why she ever got into teaching special education, if all it brought was ulcers and migraines.
Some days later, I observed a mother who had taken her autistic child with her to shop for groceries. The market was busy that day; everywhere people were talking. The boy rushed his hands to his ears as he hollered in anguish. Shoppers looked their way in puzzlement.
It would be an understatement, no doubt, to say that medical science has made vast progress in treating a wide range of diseases and conditions in the past 20 years, including autism. We now know, for instance, the specific areas of the brain is involved in autism, and to some extent, why. We now know why those with autism are unable to tolerate crowd noise and other types of sensory stimuli. Yet, for all our progress in the medical field, our cause goes unheeded by the powers that be because of our disunity.
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* "A Reason for Hope: Insights into Autism" by Daniel R. Hawthorne, copyrighted 2007. "Child of the Forest" by Daniel R. Hawthorne, copyrighted 2004.
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