A Warning to us All
One of the clearest messages we are all receiving at this point in history about autism is the importance of early intervention. I agree that the earlier we begin to intervene the better things will be, but we must also be very careful of what those interventions are, how they are carried out and what is message that we are sharing with the child we are working with.
Aaron is a young man who I first worked with in preschool. I so clearly remember the frustration of trying to convince the staff of his playschool that he was an intelligent child and to treat him as such, knowing full well that they were not "getting the picture". Many years have passed and Aaron now writes bout that time in a letter written to the Autism National Committee Conference, held in Wisconsin this October. He gave me permission to share it here with you, and passes on that permission to each of you. Please share it with those you believe need to know. He wants the world to know the truth.
Autcom conference, 2010
i am so happy to have this opportunity upon me to share my thoughts on autism . only on my diagnosis did my life truly sail on to disaster . i was a happy child. now i remember much of my childhood on my family farm . it was a life just like many kids. lots of love and kindness was shown to me.
in freedom i was home . i gave my family a lot of credit for accepting me as i was, not wanting another child . usually my life was happy. now never was there sadness . upon my diagnosis my life changed as lots of people tried to change who i was . i did not want to be changed. most great, just people really realize every autistic person dearly wants only to be free. realizing who they are is a gift from god . the truth is realizing that your child is truly special . not created as broken but created as loving, capable, truly gifted people . god dares to create all of us, perfectly free to be his children. until we realize he does not create garbage, but only gifts of his love, will we ever understand autism . free only to dare to be different ok.
i was never ok with being treated like i needed to change . it is a horrible reality only to have people in power treat you like an object only without asking you or respecting you . in my life my parents always treated me with respect, only in my life outside my home was it different . i have had many people speak for me in my life. i needed only to be listened to . just need people to in love, respect in love. in love only kindness should be your true, just kings of your life . i am so happy to be treated as an intelligent person with much to say in the world . i must emphasize to all parents and caregivers to remember the person inside the body of autism, only love will be treated as ok . of just anyone who feels they must treat us with disrespect, then leave us alone . kindness is shown in respect dear loving family members and friends . love us as we are, not as who you want us to be . kindness is god's way. not realizing who we are in this world is not in god's plan for us all.
fc has been a just wonderful freeing gift. a great tool for me to realize my thoughts and beliefs . i am so most happy to have this form of communication available to me in my world. it has opened up my great voice . in my world, without fc, it was dark and freedom less. i was so lost and alone in my ever sad world . i am so thankful to have char* teach me and my family the importance of fc in the lives of autistic people. in many ways it is so much responsible for where i am today . i also thank gail** for being the first person to show really how wonderful i am in this world . these two people mean so much to me and my family.
i truly think that in this world there is too much hate and truly angry people . only in love can we heal this world. love is the only way . autism is not a curse, not a life ender, not a life killer . i hope to let all of you know that my life has a purpose, a plan, a life's longing to be a part of this world . kindly remember that reality for some is not a reality for others. only that we must respect everyone's place in this world . only then will we lovingly, fantastically, joyfully, freely be allowed to live together . upon my end of my letter thank you for listening to me. kind of you to take the time to hear my ideas.
A message from Aaron Greenwood,
Age 13; Grade in school: 7
Using FC with his mom, Suzanne