Tag Archives: choice

Choice

I haven’t felt like blogging lately.  I’m busy.   Emma is no longer going to school and we have a number of exciting projects we’re working on, in addition to the ones she is working on solo.  We are covering all the subjects any school would cover, only we are doing it according to what Emma is most interested in.  So instead of saying, this month we will read _________, we say, “Here are some books I thought might be interesting, do any of these interest you?”  And then if they don’t we keep looking, asking and seeing what clicks.

At the moment we are reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (thank you K.), we’ll begin pre-algebra in another month or so, are studying ancient civilizations beginning with our earliest known ancestor (thank you Mom), learning about chemistry (thank you Dr. C), have a variety of craft projects, writing projects, music projects, and that doesn’t even begin to cover all the other things that come up in any given day.

In addition to all of that, German (Emma’s very specific and insistent request) is coming along nicely though we are very much beginners, so all you German speakers, please do not start commenting in German and expect a response, unless it’s something like – Meine Tochter trinkt Apfelsaft, aber ich will Wasser, bitte.  Yeah, I just wrote that…. like a BOSS!  You have no idea how proud I am of that sentence, particularly as two months ago I couldn’t have put more than three of those words together.  And even though this was Emma’s idea, I’m (obviously) enjoying myself enormously.  (Oh you have no idea!)

But the point of this post was not to itemize the topics we are learning about or to show off my German (!), but instead was to say, yes, we are busy and so that makes blogging more difficult to get to, but the bigger point, the point I was thinking of when I sat down to write this evening, is this:  I don’t have to blog if I don’t want to.  I can just stop blogging.  In fact, if I felt like it, I could say – I don’t feel like doing this anymore and that would be the end of it. But my daughter doesn’t get to just stop and walk away from her neurology and how that is perceived by the majority of people out there.

So here I am, because this is about countering all the negativity that abounds when it comes to autism.  There is stigma and prejudice and yes, oppression and people saying and doing all kinds of things to Autistic people that are horrifying and appalling and the vast majority of people in this world see nothing wrong with that.  We have to stand up and say, no.  This isn’t right.  People are being beaten down, literally, beaten, threatened, murdered and it’s not okay.  It isn’t.  Our children are growing up in a world where autism is synonymous with all kinds of awful ideas and beliefs that hurt them.

Autistic people are being shouted down, ignored, trampled on, gas-lighted, abused, treated with contempt and some fear for their lives.  Non-speaking Autistic people are routinely treated as though they are incapable of thought and if they type, they are faced with suspicion, doubt and ridicule.  Speaking Autistic people are presumed incapable of understanding others, or believed to be using their neurology to get away with something.  If they speak out in anger they are told they are being unreasonable and that this is yet another example of their neurology.   I’ve seen non autistic people accuse Autistic people of being unable to understand the nuances of an argument because they didn’t like what the Autistic person said.  One woman wrote to an Autistic friend, “Oh, you’re autistic, now I understand why you said that awful thing about that poor woman.”  Seriously.  WTF?

The intolerance some non-autistic people show those who are not like them is staggering and horrifying.  The prejudice that is out in the world is rampant and everywhere.  So as busy as I am, as much as I don’t feel like blogging these days, my daughter doesn’t get to take the day off.  She doesn’t get to say –  I don’t feel like being treated badly or differently or as though I’m not capable of understanding.  I don’t really feel like hearing what that rude person just said about me right in front of me.  She has no choice.  And that’s what this post is about.  Some of us have a choice and others do not.

My daughter does not.

Em!

“I Want to Know What God Thinks About Autism”

*Emma approved this post before I published it.

Yesterday was our second day working with Soma.  And just when I thought I could not be more blown away by anything Emma wrote, she wrote the title to this post.  It was in response to a conversation about Mesopotamia, ancient civilizations, buildings and building materials, which led to Soma discussing the types of structures built, one being temples.  Soma asked Emma why people would go into a temple, to which Emma wrote, “pray”.  Soma then asked her if she went into a temple what would she pray about.  Emma then wrote, “I want to know what god thinks about autism.”  

I have to interrupt this to say, I am not a believer.  I had a moment, a very brief moment in my teens and again in my thirties when I so wanted to believe, I needed to believe and yet still could not really believe in any way that made sense to me.  God is not something I obtain any solace or strength from believing in, and well… truthfully, I’ve stopped trying.  I don’t need to believe.  Having said that, my husband and I talk about god, religion, spirituality, the practice of acceptance and staying present, meditation, doing the right thing, and what a power greater than ourselves means on any given day.  So there is a fair amount of “god-like” talk going on.  In addition, my mother is a theologian and has taught bible study classes for many decades.  She used to attend a Torah study and I believe does again now.  She is one of the most knowledgable and interesting people I know of to talk to about religion and god.

The point is, Emma has certainly been present to a great many conversations about god, the bible and religion.  But never has she said the word “god” let alone, used the word in a sentence.  And it must be said, we never thought to ask her…   When both children were still very young I bought a number of children’s books on a variety of religions, and made some general statement about the importance of learning and deciding for yourself what you believe.  We still have those books; I’ve never seen Emma look at them, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t.  And anyway, as I said, it’s not as though she hasn’t heard a great deal of talk about God.

Later I asked Emma if she believed in God and she wrote simply, “yes”.

If there is a god, I’d like to know what god thinks about autism, too.  I’m guessing here, but I should think god is embracing and celebrating all neurologies.  After all, most people I know who believe in the existence of god believe that god created us the same and equal and beautiful beings, given the gift of choice.  We can choose to act with love, compassion and kindness or we can choose to behave in hurtful ways that cause tremendous pain and suffering.  Either way, according to those I trust and respect on the topic, God is always there for us, all of us, all the time, and without exception.

Em Texas