#3 Celebrate the Extroordinary

Through this week, one of my goals with finding stories and new information about autism was to gain a greater understanding in myself of what I believe about autism, as well as why I really found the topic so interesting. As I began research, I looked at what local groups were involved in autism advocacy. I found a few interesting sites, but there was a lack of Vermont autism advocates that had resources other than just the science of autism. I was specifically looking for someone who was motivational and had non-traditional ideas about autism. This being something I didn’t see, I decided to look into Ted Talks. Information comes when you’re ready, and Rosie King showed up, talking about being autistic. My original thoughts were, “she looks different, maybe this isn’t something I want to see”. But I decided to follow my instinct, the one deeper than the surface thoughts. Being autistic meant that Rosie had intense focus and was not distracted by her peers. This freed her to be herself. Through her talk, she focused on celebrating the extraordinary and letting go of fear that holds people back. She didn’t need to push away her autism, because it was a gift to the world.  I learned that by deciding to see past the fact that she looked different to me, I had gotten exactly what I needed.

Through my research, I’ve found there are generally two approaches to autism. The first and largest group is the science or medical community, which strives to label and “cure” or manage autism.  The second, much smaller group, includes people who believe that autism is a blessing, and includes people like Temple Grandin and Rosie King, both of whom are adults with autism.

The major conflict I discovered is how to live and support autistic people in reaching their full potential. While we all want to do what is best for our children, what divides us is the ways we approach that goal. I have noticed that many autistic children are born to parents who need to learn something. The autistic kids are the teachers because they are so different. Every person has a gift, whether they have a “disability” or are “normal”. I believe that acceptance leads to understanding others, and that leads to others feeling loved. What we often do with autistic people is try to train them to live the way we do, however, what I believe is more important is to be present and enter their world with an open mind. This leads to friendship, compassion, and an understanding of who they are.


“My Autism and Me.” Performance by Rosie King, My Autism and Me, BBC, 30 Jan. 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejpWWP1HNGQ.                          

 “How Autism Freed Me to Be Myself.” Performance by Rosie King, How Autism Freed Me to Be Myself, Ted Talks, 21 Nov. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ95xlZeHo8.           

Featured Photo by: Tony Palmer               

Aidan Palmer

3 Responses to “#3 Celebrate the Extroordinary

  • Aidan:
    I’m definitely going to check out that TED Talk. Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

    You’r doing some good thinking — thinking that most adults struggle with. That is, you’ve been able to identify that there are only really two groups in the Autism world: the science/medical on the one hand and the magic/instructive potential on the other side.

    Which brings me to what I love about your post. We live in a world where most of our roles are defined: parent/child, teacher/student, politician/constituent, among many others. However, you seem to be noticing that there is a serious role reversal in your respective topic. That is, those with Autism refuse to be boxed into a specific role, instead tending to play the role of teacher. I think this might be a great perspective to explore — the role of Autism as an instructive tool for all sorts of things.

    Nice thinking and writing again this week.

  • Thank you so much for reading and giving me feedback on my post. I am glad that my thoughts are so clear and that you got something deeper than just what autism is from reading my writing. I am definitely going to play with the role of autistic people as teachers through my writing. This is something I find very interesting, and it’s what really drew me into this topic.

    Thank you so much for the comments! I have been finding them very helpful, and I enjoy having feedback on what others think.
    Enjoy your week!

  • Avery Murray-Gurney
    6 years ago

    I think that this is a good approach- looking into how different people view autism and helping autistic people. I am curious about how autistic people feel about the medical approach and how you will take that into consideration. I’m excited to see how these different points of view impact your work.

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