I have read several blogs from people who are on the spectrum and believe there should be neurodiversity. I am one of those people. I steer clear, most of the time from reading things about “recovery”. The reason is because I do not believe that autism or the autism spectrum is a “condition or disorder” to be cured from. Although, there is no way I can possibly understand how other people feel. When people so desperately want a cure or want recovery, I am rather confused because I don’t think there is anything wrong with me or Daniel. I feel we have challenges but learning how to deal with our challenges is what I consider progress. When I speak of Daniel’s progress I mean it differently than what other people may mean.
I do not think of it as “recovery”.
What would he be recovering from? What would that mean for me? Do I now need to recover myself? This gives me mixed emotions. On the one hand I can see how “recovery” would be a great thing for those who are completely unable to function. On the other hand I think possibly if parents or organizations would stop spending so much time on “recovery” and “causes” and more time on learning how their child or children on the spectrum in general are communicating to better help them I think a lot more people would show progress.
What is my definition of progress?
Progress in this situation with Daniel is definitely steady improvement and developmental growth. Not because I want him to be “normal”. I want Daniel to progress so he can have a fully functional life by his terms. Daniel has progressed because I changed my attitude and gained knowledge. Before I understood Asperger’s or the autism spectrum I was ignorant and just wanted Daniel to be normal. However, I didn’t even know what normal was. In my struggles to live in this world, my prayer for my children was that they wouldn’t have to live like I did.
Once again my mindset changed.
My eyes were opened to the answer of that prayer. They are not going to live the way I did because they are accepted fully for who they are. When I accepted Daniel our whole life changed. When I stopped trying to make Daniel do what I thought he should be doing according to other people’s standards, Daniel just started doing it. When I let him teach me and I was able to understand his language my world made much more sense and his world became much happier.
Actually, all of us started having a much happier world.
Daniel’s progress is my progress, his progress is our families progress. We do not see this as a bad thing, we see this as a blessing. Even with all of the challenges that have come our way it is well worth it to have our children learn what unconditional love means, what acceptance means, and comprehending people’s unique way of thinking. Fear may play a huge factor in all of this for people. I am not sure but the response that our society has had about autism in general seems to be rooted in fear instead of trying to understand.
There are many roads that fear can lead you to.
Although I am a firm believer in acceptance I can see the other view of wanting recovery. Coming from a place of denial myself and at a time just wanting Daniel to be normal, if you do not have a mindset of acceptance you will not know truly if the person on the spectrum has changed. If one just wants the behaviour to stop one can make that happen. However, if one wants the person on the spectrum to be fully themselves and be accepted for their unique way of thinking, communicating, just being them it will take people really taking the time to understand people on the spectrum.
I do not believe in “recovery” I believe in acceptance that leads to progress.
Here is a great link to check out.
Edit: After I wrote this I found an excellent blog post that made a lot of sense. It says what I didn’t articulate completely. Please read.