Today, 2nd April, is World Autism Day – its Light It Up Blue day.
Autism is a complex disorder… being on the spectrum (Autism Spectrum) means very different things for different kids diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The movie Rain Man does not do Autism justice… it did highlight Autism to the world but it did not do enough to explain the reality of Autism.
It is such a complex disorder of which i confess to know only the tip of the iceberg. So i will direct you to the experts – Autism Speaks.
i also want to point you to an interview given by Colleen Swindoll, daughter of well-known Christian writer and pastor, Charles Swindoll, and mother to three children, one of whom is on the spectrum.
These words she said during the interview hit home for me:
Tears are okay in our home; candid and honest soul work is openly talked about. I don’t force my kids to “like” life or put on some fake smiley face…Christ didn’t, He doesn’t tell us to do that today, and the lack of authenticity only complicates life.
i am guilty of this. i’m a non-confrontational person. i avoid conflict as much as i can. i keep the peace not because i agree with the other person but because i can not face the prospect of an argument. So there have been times i smile and say ok when it is not. And it does complicate life and makes me feel fake.
Having a special needs kid throws that all out the window. You can not afford to be unreal or sweep things under the carpet with special needs. It needs to be met head on.
The best people to show you that is your special needs child. i like what Colleen Swindoll says about her ASD son:
Of us all, he is the strongest as his body doesn’t cooperate with this life yet he keeps moving through each moment the best he can. It’s pretty simple, very humbling. He is a living picture of how God must love us, care for us, and desire us to fall into His arms for help and strength.
i pray daily for my little Heath and little Heather who have Down Syndrome and live in institutions which are so very poorly equipped to handle their special needs. At the same time, i marvel at how their little bodies keep going on (they are almost 11 and 10 respectively). i can only say that the Lord has a hand in their lives which gives me hope that as i pray, because i know He is moving to bring their forever families closer to bringing them home. Would you pray with me? Would you consider advocating for them? Would you consider that maybe you are the family God has prepared for them?
If you know someone who is on the spectrum (adult or child), do consider doing something special for them this week, such as giving them an extra hug or simply spending the time to get to know them.