Greetings Earthlings! 🙂
In the last couple of days an audition video from America’s Got Talent has gone viral featuring Kodi Lee- a blind, 22 year old autist with an amazing gift for music. If you haven’t seen the clip yet, check it out below (such an amazing voice!):
After watching this video, it’s got me thinking about our tendency to put people on the spectrum into boxes. We’re constantly talking about tolerance, acceptance and equality in the world today, but still we can be quite quick to write people off.
“You’re autistic”- this is you label, this your box, this is what we expect of you.
Having Asperger’s is just one aspect of me. It influences quite a lot of my quirks, but it is still only one piece of my jigsaw. This one word will not tell you about my talents, my interests, my active social life. It reveals a part of me, but not the whole.
My entire life I’ve never been one to conform, and autism is no exception. I refuse to fit into any particular mould- I’d much rather be an abstract painting, entirely unique.
Moulds are for bread and fondant 😛
Something that really saddens me is that when a parent hear’s the word autism, there is a tendency to let go of the mental picture that they have for their child’s life. They mourn the loss of a “normal” life (whatever that is!). They worry that their child won’t make friends, will struggle in school, that they won’t achieve their dreams.
Life does not always run smoothly, and rarely fits the picture we first imagine. I never thought I would still be single in my late twenties, but that’s life. Some might think that I would scrap that picture of finding love from my mind after I got my diagnosis (as so often autists struggle romantically), but why would I? Sure it can make it difficult to read romantic situations, but it doesn’t mean I won’t find love one day. There’s no real reason that I can’t break the mould.
And sometimes in life, the picture has to completely change to give birth to something greater. For example, there is some evidence that there may be a hidden portrait underneath the Mona Lisa. Leonardo da Vinci had to let go of this original picture in order to create a masterpiece (one which he spent years editing I might add).
Our lives are like the creation of the Mona Lisa- the picture is always changing. An autism diagnosis may alter the projected picture, but it doesn’t mean that one day it won’t become a masterpiece.
The pictures we have in our heads for our lives/our children’s lives are not finite. We don’t have to let go of our dreams for the sake of one word. Look at how Kodi is breaking the mould- with one look you might think you know his story, but when he opens his mouth he paints you a brand new portrait. And let’s not forget Susan Boyle (a fellow aspie), one audition changed her life forever. Everyone laughed when she came on stage, but now she’s living her dream! (Side note- can’t believe this was 10 years ago…feeling old!👴).
And let’s not forget how non-verbal Carly Fleischmann has become a talk show host!
The world is full of stories of incredible autists breaking the mould, challenging our preconceptions of what we think autism is. As I am repeatedly saying, no two are the same, so why do we insist on these moulds?
Give us the freedom to be who we are, lend us a blank canvas and we’ll paint you a picture you could never have imagined 🙂
Hope you enjoyed this post dear Earthlings! 😀
Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂