On this final day of April, and Autism Awareness Month, I have found two perfect thoughts that capture the essence of what I've been feeling lately as I try to communicate what life is like for someone on the spectrum, as well as for those who love and care for them.
I found them, on all places, on a blog about art and photography from a French female artist. In a way, this is very appropriate, as I have found in France the inclination to look at and celebrate the individual, rather than submit to the herd mentality and do it up better than the Jonses.
1) "Everybody has a beauty to them and you have to try to capture it.
As I said, put them in the right light at the right angle in the right moment."
I feel this is what I have been fighting to get for James in school this year and which, thankfully, we've achieved. My ASD child does not test or present at all well on standardized scores. Rather, he needs the "right light" (or perception) and more patience for his abilities and personality to show through. And he is beautiful. Oh yes. And funny, capable, curious, smart, caring - so worthy of effort.
2) "For unphotogenic people, it just takes more love and more time :)"
Swap in "special needs" for "unphotogenic" and BINGO! This is my life.
Thank you, Garance, for helping me find the words.
For all reading this post, this is part of why we try to raise awareness. We are trying to adjust the "light" (perceptions) so you can see that under a surface that looks different, weird, and maybe scary is a person. A real person with their own unique beauty. They take more to develop. More effort, time, money, and love. But inside is a person who can grow, thrive, and give back. And we love them.