Friday, January 3, 2014
Autism Answer: We All Belong Here
When I first moved to the US, I lived here illegally. Those years were very uncomfortable. I couldn't work, I often had to hide part of myself, I felt embarrassed a lot when the reality of my illegal status meant I wasn't accepted. Often I was judged (child protective services wanted to take my kids, saying plainly,"We don't like your kind around here.") but even when I wasn't being judged, I felt like I was. I walked around feeling uncomfortable about being me.
I used to see this same look on my little brother. When everywhere he went people pulled their children close, watched him with anxious anticipation, threatened to beat him to a pulp for knocking on doors at 10 PM, threw him out of stores for ugly tics or allowed him to break rules while tsk, tsk-ing, him and his poor broken brain.
But lately, as he has become more and more comfortable socially, he seems much more like the me I was once my boys and I got green cards. Once we were able to feel truly like we belonged here. Now that people are reacting to him with a bit more respect and the assumption that he belongs, he feels more as though that's true.
Perhaps one thing we can do for our autistic friends is make sure they know that they belong here. While we learn from each other--while we teach them social skills and they teach us very different social truths--let's make sure they don't hear any of us ever say things like, "we just don't like your kind around here". Let's make sure they don't feel us look upon them with pity or fear.
Being human in this world means worrying about acceptance. Being different and challenged in this world means looking around and seeing proof that you should worry.
We can change that.
Let's change that!!
We all belong here!!
Hugs, smiles, and love!!