Today's post was written for the CBC television show Context with Lorna Dueck, a weekly program exploring news and current affairs from a Christian perspective. You can visit the Context website here and Philip's original post here.
Autism Acceptance by Philip Reyes
I am here to make you aware about autism. I am autistic and can explain autism from an insider view. My perspective differs from societal views of autism.
Let’s suppose my life is as the world sees it. Autistics pester the mainstream with their many differences. Grieving parents push their kids to be like them. I am the subject of people's pity and alarm. People pity our families too. We create hardship on everyone. People mean well but their pity gets us nowhere. People love to give to charities without knowing where the money goes. I think people should get to know autistic people and listen to instill knowledge of what is really needed.
I think what is really needed are methods of communication that really work. People need to know that peace comes to us when we are understood. I am making a point in saying we need a reliable way to communicate. Picture communication is not adequate. Conversing with words is the most important method to express oneself. I learned by Rapid Prompting Method. Parents need patience to work with us and persevere.
I am severely affected by autism. I cannot speak with my mouth. I am apraxic in my actions. I am not able to move in a way I always plan. I am sensitive to many noises, sights, and sensations. I also have problems feeling my body in space. I mean to adapt so I can live as close to a quaint and normal life as possible. I am questioning ABA and traditional therapies. They did not work for me. Learning repetitively is losing out to learning so much more. Some might say we can't progress until we show understanding as acting like a neurotypical. Trying to listen from an autistic perspective is paramount to understanding us. A sense of peace comes to us when you acknowledge we are smart. Imitate Jesus in meeting people where they are and slowly transforming them from the inside.
I make a ton of trouble in a neurotypical world. I am an alien passing through a world populated with people who fit in perfectly. I do not. I am weird to most. I am unable to process my thoughts like everyone. I move differently than most people. Lots of things about me annoy people but that is how I was made by God.
God made me for a purpose. He does not make mistakes. People must learn to love and accept us as we are. Only then can we peacefully land on earth and begin to adapt to the rest of mankind. The mosaic of different people working together will make a beautiful reflection of the body of Christ.
I want to be another contributor in society. I am transitioning from my loneliness and isolation and entering my adapting world. I love it. My school is teaching me a lot of interesting subjects. They support my typing. My school takes out-of-the-box measures to include me with regular kids. I attend church and Stockade (a church club). They accommodate me and allow me to be myself. I am learning about God. He teaches me about life and his love. I am precious in His sight. People might not see my worth but God does. He had a plan for me even before I was born. Autism was part of His plan for me.