Sunday, November 17, 2013

Autism Answer: Think Outside The Box And Allow Others To Do The Same!!

Author's Note: This is a post I wrote for my Facebook Page around this time last year. I want to mention that the teens in this story remain to be some of the most amazing young adults I know. With thoughts and ideas that impress and make the world a beautiful place! ~Tsara

Last night my teenage son had a few friends spend the night. This morning while I was sipping coffee and doing dishes I could hear them chatting in their early morning (it was about 9:30, but they are teens!) sleepy voices about autism and the spectrum. 

My son had taken on the role of "expert" while his friends asked questions and shared insights. Some of the facts were wrong, a few assumptions and generalizations were perpetuated, but the intentions and underlying themes remained very "we can make the world a better place by appreciating difference"

I chose not to pop my head in to make factual corrections or add my own insights. At first it was because I would hate to take the fun out of their musing by adding my "mom" element.

But also because, what do I know? And HOW do I know? That's one of the mistakes made by educators and professionals. They work so hard to know, taking classes and tests and reading studies and more, that they often inadvertently stifle free thinking and creativity in parents and students. 

What I know, HOW I know, comes from living with and loving people on the spectrum. It comes from listening to them, listening to me, listening to mom--who is both an international autism therapist and individual, consistently learning more and changing my mind about what I thought I knew. 

Allowing the teens to think freely encourages them to think for themselves and to enjoy doing so. It also allows for thinking outside the box. Perhaps they will discover an answer that others hadn't yet explored. Who's to say?

Not that I never add my two cents or share what I know. Ask my boys, I share a lot!! Ask their friends, I tell them what I think and believe often!! However, it's important to step away and allow often as well. 

It reminded me of the importance behind sharing our knowledge with the world, reaching out and learning from others, and then bringing it all in. Out and in, out and in.... like breathing.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I can't help but be thankful for all the difference, kindness, and open minds I'm surrounded by. Studies, facts, and specifics be darned!!

 Hugs, smiles and love!!!

The Sleep Over Free Thinking Teens!