“I’m autistic. I’m going to make you better, make your family better.”
Let’s play a game, shall we?I’ll give you a bunch of clues, and you try to guess who I am.1 First of all, I am not a person, a place, or a thing.You can’t see me, you can’t touch me, you can’t smell me.I’m considered a disease by humans, but I’m actually a collection of symptoms.Some symptoms are not liking to play with other children.Some symptoms are an aversion to taking different routes home.Others are so engaged in what they do that they don’t get bored playing with car tires for hours.Others don’t like to make eye contact.I might be waving fingers and flapping hands.Or it could be a silent child who walks on tiptoes with downcast eyes.I am a diagnosis, a handicap, a box that needs to be checked on a medical form or postscript at the end of an email.2 Plus, I don’t know if you’ve heard of me, but a lot of people have been diagnosed.I’m going to give you some bad days, but I’m sure the last one will turn out to be.In fact, I live in each and every one of you, whether you know it or not.I’m the party of friends that makes you shy, I’m the shirt label that tickles you, I’m the sticky crunch when you bite into a strawberry seed, the overwhelming hum of the air conditioner.I’ve got some people jumping and flapping their hands, chewing gum, I’ve got some people running for miles without stopping, or pulling their hair hard.I’m a rerun of Baby Einstein on DVD.I’m a neat row of Thomas trains winding around your room.If you see it get messy, it can make you feel mad, frustrated, nervous, or empty.Sometimes, I taste like shame and bitterness, like indigestion.But other times, I can give you a taste of the purest joy, like marshmallow, a rush of happiness and pride, like when he could say mom for the first time!I can be found in parks, squares and places where people gather.I am at school and cinema, on the playground and in the library.For some reason, people celebrate me in Blue in April.But I am actually all the colors in the world. Red is the outdoor on weekends, and yellow is the bright sun.But I could also be color blind.I’m in Beijing, I’m in Shanghai, I’m in China, India and Singapore.You can also find me in Russia and Japan, San Francisco and Belgium.Maybe you sit across from me at the dinner table every night. Maybe you look up and see me in the mirror as you brush your teeth before bed.I also live in New Hampshire with a 10-year-old boy named Jack.One year, I made him so afraid of the wind that he was afraid to go out all winter.The next year, it was dogs, and Jack was afraid to cross the street if people were walking their pugs or golden retrievers.I also made him work hard to learn things that come naturally to other people, such as language, eye contact, and reading facial expressions.Jack spent much of his day feeling anxious and confused, and I was his enigma.In fact, I have been with you since the beginning, though no one has noticed it for a long time.Is my existence justified?It depends a lot on how you see me.As a nuisance, a tantrum, a mess, or a curious lamb in a Wolf costume.Can you see my long yellow teeth and tousled hair and find the soft, gentle child down there?As a nuisance, I can make people lose their temper and become confused, but I am like a curious lamb in Wolf’s clothes. Can you look through my long fangs and untidy hair to find the gentle child down there?Mozart wrote long and complicated symphonies because of me.It is said that his hearing is so acute that he can distinguish even the slightest sound.In his rigid, unyielding mind, Michelangelo created painting after painting until it was perfect.Because of me, the Sistine Chapel is full of light and color.Because of me, Einstein did very badly in school, and he learned differently from all other children.Newton had no friends, he did not know how to get along with people, but he could not waver in his strict adherence to good living habits.And Temple Grandin, a smart, compassionate woman who revolutionized the cattle industry with sheer perseverance and determination.I am hope and possibility, music and dreams, kindness and color, I am gravity.So, before you meet me, before you break down trying to label me, before you race for therapy or rush to call me a freak, try to remember my worth, my goodness.I will teach you the true meaning of unconditional love. It is a love so powerful that it lifts your heart up again.At first, you may not even realize that you are learning from me, because I am so subtle, even invisible.But every hour, every day, every year, you and I are at peace, and you’ll be carefully stepping over long rows of trains to admire the complex cities of Minecraft.At dawn every Thursday, you turn on all the kitchen lights and cook a special breakfast for the boy who finally calls out for his mother.Hi, did you guess?I’m autistic, and I’m gonna make you better, and I’m gonna make your family better.I’ll make the world a better place if you let me.Postscript: This is a post from Carrie Cariello, mother of 10-year-old Jake, who shows us the different side of autism. She tells us what color Mondays can be and how autism can change a family for the better.In our previous knowledge, autism often brings us despair and destruction, but on the other hand, we can still enjoy the happiness after the bitter, and it is our mentality that determines all this.So if you’re getting lost in your own life, why not put it down and listen to what your child’s autism is trying to tell you?As Carrie Cariello said, autism can change things for the better if we want to.