Seven years ago, my son was pronounced 'autistic.' It felt like we were being dropped into Arctic waters. I was shocked, numb, unprepared, and flailing. And the books I found didn't help, didn't tell us how to climb onto the ice, didn't advise us how to gear up and adjust to polar living. No, the books of the time focused solely on cures and recoveries, wove tales of autism-free tropical paradises. Of places where we'd never feel cold again.
In their tales of the horror and harshness of polar living, they did not allow that the north pole's magnetism is as mutable as it is strong, and that for families like ours polar living is simply - reality. We can adjust to it, we can learn how to work with it, or we can fight it. Our choice. But no matter how we go about it, we're working hard, and both we and our children deserve respect.
Click on over to BlogHer for my Autism Awareness Day post. It's a similar-themed though more expansive perspective on why we need a new geographic analogy for autism -- forget Welcome to Holland, that was written for parents of kids with Down syndome -- Welcome to Yellowknife instead! It also ends with some suggestions for going beyond Autism Awareness into Autism Action. Please do forward it to anyone who needs to read it. Here's a teaser:
...once you've settled in, you start to realize how cool Yellowknife can be. You start to see that Yellowknife is a crucible for the intrepid and the fearless, for people like the Ice Road Truckers who brave long and grueling journeys to provide subarctic children with the supplies and services they need. You find that, as in San Francisco, people come to Yellowknife from all over the world.How are you bringing attention to Autism Awareness day? I'm taking a numerical approach:
- 4 = hours of sleep
- 3 = number of deadlines to hit by 2 pm
- 2 = number of children home on spring break
- 1 = number of those children who have autism