Our journey in the Autism Spectrum

Posts tagged ‘mentoring’

Neurodiversity: The New Typical-Revisited

[Ed. note:  I originally wrote this piece in 2011. Four years ago! Now it’s 2015 and  today I saw a post by the wonderful and amazing John Elder Robison sharing information on a new book coming out by Steve Silberman called NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. I felt it necessary to revisit this post (with minor edits) to hopefully get people thinking!] 

There are so many things I wish, hope and dream for my son; so many things for each of my kids, which includes not only Henry but his two “typical” sisters. Of course, I wish for them to be happy, productive, good citizens. I feel that is a given. So, aside from that, what do I really wish for them?  Henry in particular? I wish for them to be accepted for who they are, as they are.

This is not to say that I don’t want programs and therapies specifically to help my son. I do! As many as possible with a lot of options and opportunities.  This is also not to say that I want or expect the world to accommodate my son’s differences completely. He needs to learn outside his comfort zone too. This is how we grow. There would be room for research, of course, for those looking for new therapies, for a cause, for a “cure”.

What I am looking for is a world that will accept him, understand him, and still want to know him, to like him, to value what he contributes to the world. All of that despite that he doesn’t think the same as others. He sees the world differently.

How can we accomplish this? Where to begin? Education. Education. Education. Education for teachers. Education for our kids’ peers! And with this education comes mentoring for our kids. All kids! How awesome would it be if ALL teachers were special education teachers?!?! Wouldn’t ALL of our kids benefit from that? I know my littlest “typical” girl does! She was a model student in an integrated special education preschool class. It was a wonderful experience. We all learn differently. How amazing and different our world would be if we ALL had a special mentor growing up! This, ideally, needs to start EARLY.

I would love to see my son in an environment where sometimes when he feels he must make strange space noises or talk to himself, those around him, his peers, will be okay with it. They would understand and not think anything of it. He would have opportunities to walk away from a group project or game when it simply becomes too much to interact or be close with others and be welcomed back when he is ready to continue contributing to the group. A place where everyone feels comfortable and everyone’s differences are accepted.

This subject is so important, so vast. We have much work still to do. But perhaps, for those who run across this blog, it will get them thinking and sharing and collaborating. Perhaps someday we will no longer have to put the word typical in quotes when referring to some of our kids. No more “NT” kids. All of us would be considered ND. Neurodiverse. The new “typical”.

Neurodiversity: The New Typical

[Editor’s Note: I mentioned last night on my Facebook page, A Chameleon in the Spectrum, that I would making a post soon. This is not the post I referred to.  That other post will be coming soon.  This post has been sitting and stewing in my drafts for some time and my thoughts keep coming back to it and circling. I feel my thoughts and ideas about this one are not fully formed as the topic is so deep and far-reaching yet it’s time to put it out there and refine later.]

There are so many things I wish, hope and dream for my son; so many things for each of my kids, which includes not only Henry but his two “typical” sisters. Of course, I wish for them to be happy, productive, good citizens. I feel that is a given. So, aside from that what do I really wish for them?  Henry in particular? I wish for them to be accepted for who they are, as they are. I want neurodiversity to be typical.

This is not to say that I don’t want programs and therapies specifically to help my son. I do! As many as possible with a lot of options and opportunities.  This is also not to say that I want or expect the world to accommodate my son’s differences completely. He needs to learn outside his comfort zone too. There would be room for research of course, and a lot of it, for those looking for new therapies, for a cause, for a cure.

What I am looking for is a world that will accept him, understand him, and still want to know him, to like him, to value what he contributes to the world. All of that despite that he doesn’t think the same as a lot of us. He sees the world differently.

How can we accomplish this? Where to begin? Education. Education. Education. Education for teachers. Education for our kids’ peers! And with this education comes mentoring for our kids. All kids!

Just this morning Jess over at Diary of a Mom, got me thinking more about this with her most recent post. What do we want from our future educators, administrators, inclusion specialists? For me it really comes down to more and better education and mentoring for everyone!

How awesome would it be if ALL teachers were special education teachers?!?! Wouldn’t ALL of our kids benefit from that? I know my littlest “typical” girl does! She is a model student in an integrated special education preschool class. It’s wonderful! We all learn differently. How amazing and different our world would be if we ALL had a special mentor growing up! Mentoring needs to start EARLY.

I would love to see my son in an environment where sometimes when he feels he must make strange space noises or talk to himself, those around him, his peers, will be okay with it. They would understand and not think a thing of it. He would have opportunities to walk away from a group project or game when it simply becomes too much to interact or be close with others. A place where everyone feels comfortable and everyone’s differences are accepted.

This subject is so important, so vast, that I feel I am beginning to ramble. As I said in my note at the beginning, I have been sitting on this post in my drafts for some time, not knowing how to really pull together what I am trying to get across. I’m still working on that. But perhaps for those who run across this blog, it will get them thinking and sharing, collaborating. A new beginning!

Perhaps then someday we will no longer have to put the word typical in quotes when referring to some of our kids. No more “NT” kids. All of us would be considered ND. Neurodiverse. The new “typical”.

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