Friday, May 17, 2013

Autism Answer: The Greatness of Graduation!!

My mom did an episode of 'A New Spin on Autism: Answers!' (her every-other Monday podcast) on the controversial topic of whether or not it's possible for anyone to come off the spectrum of autism. She used the word 'graduate' which I loved! It makes it easy to believe. I've seen three of my brothers and two of my own boys go from being diagnosable to no longer diagnosable. But they have all remained undeniably unique! Which is why the idea of graduating rings true for me.

When we graduate from something, we don't then stop learning. We don't walk away completely without taking with us the gifts and lessons our years toward graduation offered. We instead become independent and responsible for what we choose to learn. We become comfortable in a knowledge or skill that is no longer new and tentative. We no longer have to get the right answer, only our answer.

I have seen three of my four brothers graduate from autism. I have seen my mom graduate from autism. I watched with pride as my own boys struggled and then graduated. Even boring neuro-typical me has learned and learned, eventually graduating from the school of autism in my own very different way.

I also know many fabulous autistic folks who have not graduated, and likely never will. At least, not from autism. And that's perfectly fine!! Graduating off the spectrum of autism isn't a necessary goal.

Tomorrow my son will be taking his lovely lady to prom, to celebrate her high-school graduation. My son, however, did not graduate but chose instead to quit school early and get his GED. Which, he did! I'm impressed and proud and couldn't be happier for him!

There are all kinds of graduations! Getting what you want from life requires intentionally graduating from the things that will get you closer to your goal, whatever it is! To be successful and happy we don't have to graduate from high-school or college, we don't have to graduate from personal assistant to the big boss, and we don't have to graduate from autism. Instead, choose to see and celebrate all our unique graduations, then go ahead and feel successful!!

Those of you out there enjoying kindergarten graduations, eighth grade graduations, high school graduations... enjoy!! And don't forget to celebrate all the other many, many wonderful schools of life that you and your family are constantly graduating from!! 

Any excuse for coffee, cookies and celebration should not be missed!!

Hugs, smiles and love!

My son and his lovely lady celebrate the greatness of graduation!