Faith, Love and Respect for ALL

Archive for the ‘ABC’s Autism Style’ Category

ABCs Autism Style Index

I wanted to put all the ABC’s Autism Style entries into one post, so they can easily be viewed from A to Z. I am overjoyed to complete this project, because I can see how my writing has evolved in the past 16 months. This has been a wonderful project, which challenged me on many levels, and has provided me with a strong foundation for my next endeavor.

A HUGE Thank You to Marie for always believing in me, proofreading posts (when I had no confidence in myself), and honoring me with her perpetual support and inspiration. I love you Marie, and I would not be here without you, I thank God everyday for blessing me with such an extraordinary friend.

Intro to ABC’s Autism Style

A is for ACCEPTANCE        

B is for BEHAVIOR              

C is for COMMUNICATION

D is for DIFFERENT           

E is for ENVIRONMENT     

F is for FAMILY                  

G is for GRATITUDE           

H is for HAPPINESS                      

I is for INNOVATIVE          

J is for JUDGMENT          

K is for KNOWLEDGE         

L is for LOVE                                   

M is for MISSION           

N is for NEED                    

O is for OPTIMISM               

P is for PROGRESS             

Q is for QUALITIES             

R is for RESPECT                 

S is for SUCCESS                  

T is for THERAPY                 

U is for UNIQUE                  

V is for VALID                      

W is for WORRY                    

X is for XENOPHOBIA        

Y is for YEARN                      

Z is for ZEAL

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Z is for ZEAL

ABCs Autism Style Z

Z is for ZEAL

Zeal is defined as: “fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor.” – Dictionary.com

Zeal is a perfect term to describe how Autistic people approach many aspects of life. When a person hones in on their Special Interests, they ignite a desire to learn everything about those topics. Autistic individuals zealously pursue their interests because knowledge, understanding, and experience in these areas provide them comfort and joy. These special interests can be utilized as a way of educating and teaching new concepts to children with Autism. When an Adult with Autism obtains work pertaining to their area of expertise, they become extremely valuable members of the companies they work for, and the communities in which those businesses operate.

When I observe members of the Autism community, I envy their ability to remain passionate about their interests, despite what life may throw their way. This quote by Edmond Mbiaka, is the best way I can convey my admiration for Autistic people, because they instinctively do what most of us struggle to achieve:

“We are all born with some great abilities to excel in all circumstances, but unfortunately, negative thoughts always tend to blindfold a lot of people from realizing their true potential in life. However, anyone can take back their true destiny by always challenging every thought that doesn’t keep their mind fully focused on the prize ahead.”

The Autistic adults in the world, like our children today, struggled with learning according to society’s standards of typical education. For all the negative thoughts and actions people have directed toward them, they remain passionate about the things they love, because they do not look at life the way most people do. It is an amazing gift, which should be treasured and applauded. We must be ever diligent to not change an Autistic person to fit societal norms, but simply assist them in learning how to navigate the world on their terms. Ignacio Estrada stated it perfectly: If a child can’t learn the way we teach; maybe we should teach the way they learn.”

As a parent of an extraordinary Autistic child, I am thankful for the different angles I now see the world from. I would not have these unique views without Beth and her amazing gifts, which stem from her Autism. Her road may not always be easy, and she will face all kinds of ugly in the world; however, she will persevere and she will remain passionate and full of life, because she is Au-Some.

Zeal “Our Way” is defined as: “One of the many blessings of  having Autism, because it allows the Autistic individual to always explore and cherish the subjects that speak to their heart, which brings them and those around them an immense joy.”

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Y is for YEARN

Y is for YEARN

Y is for YEARN

Yearn is defined as: “1. to have an earnest or strong desire; long: to yearn for a quiet vacation…” – Dictionary.com

In my opinion, Yearning is double-edged sword.  It can be the force that drives you to achieve things that you may have thought impossible. It can also be the force that drives you rob yourself and loved ones of the simple joys of life. Many parents dream of their children having “normal” and “easy” lives. While there is nothing wrong with this dream per say, we must always remember these terms are relative, based on one’s outlook in life. We must remain vigilant that Our dreams for Our children are based on Our family values and abilities; not on what we perceive others to have.

There are days when I mourn the “easy” and “care-free” life I desperately wanted my children to have. There were facets of my childhood, which caused me to lose that innocent, child-like view of the world at much too early an age. When I had children, I prayed their road would be different, and they would stay kids as long as possible. I wanted to shield them from the ugliness of the world; but as my father has helped me see, I cannot put them in bubbles, they need to see the world for all it is, good and bad, in order to have a firm footing on their path.

Having a child with Autism and/or other Special Needs is not “easy” and it certainly is not “care-free.” Our journey is not considered “normal” by society’s standards, but for us it is filled with many blessings as we find Our version of  “normal.”  Unfortunately, belonging to the wonderful Special Needs community also opens us up to an abundance of ignorance and ugly. I Yearn for a time when ALL individuals are treated with Love and Respect, and celebrated for their diverse abilities. I dream of a time when my girls will be eager to show the world all their Unique and Extraordinary qualities. I pray for a time when they can recognize their areas of struggle, but proudly say Progress NOT Perfection, and keep chasing whatever they feel passionately about, in a way that works for them. In the words of Helen Keller: “I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers.”

We all have various limitations. We all have diverse abilities. We all have different dreams, and thoughts on how to achieve those dreams. Perhaps Our dream is to live a simple life filled with Love and Laugher. Perhaps Our dream is to blaze a path into the unknown and teach the world something new. Whatever Our dream is, whatever Our children’s dreams are, we must accept that Yearning can be a great motivator, when viewed realistically through our soul. We must never stop pursuing our dreams, because they will take us magnificent places. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” — Harriet Tubman

Yearn “Our way” is defined as: “A calling in Our Heart, and a passion in Our Soul, which fuels Our desire to fulfill our dreams, by building on our strengths and creating new ways to overcome our limitations.”

 

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

X is for XENOPHOBIA

X is for XENOPHOBIA

X is for XENOPHOBIA

Xenophobia is defined as: “an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.” – Dictionary.com.  Another definition listed on Wikipedia is: “…unreasonable fear or hatred of the unfamiliar.”

Society as a whole does not accept change well, it does not welcome diversity with open arms; instead, it revels in uniformity. The basic fact of the matter is that the unknown scares people, because they do not know what to expect. Unfortunately, it seems as though everything has become about conformity and control, which can be quite distressing to anyone who does not fit into the preconceived notion of “normal.”

Our world and everything in it, especially its people, is constantly evolving. Who is to say that Autism is not the next stage of evolution? The mind of an Autistic individual is extraordinary, their senses often heightened, they can see and visualize things that we could never fathom. They function on different levels than most typical individuals, which many times is a simultaneous blessing and curse. They have differing abilities, but this is nothing to fear or discriminate against. Now is the time to educate people, and advocate for Autism Acceptance and equal treatment for ALL.

The first step toward Autism Acceptance starts with us, because the way we talk about our Autistic loved ones, is how society will view them. We must be careful not to overemphasize the positives or the negatives of Autism; we should simply be honest about what life is really like in a Special Needs family.

The truth is… It is not easy, and some days are so hard all we can do is cry, and pray for tomorrow to be better. Some days are wonderful and fill us with pride and joy. Our Autistic loved ones suffer in ways that we may never fully understand. Every day they make progress in their own way. They are asked to constantly battle their own systems to appear more “normal.” They see the true beauty in the world through innocence and love. The way most of our loved ones are treated is beyond horrible, and it needs to change! We need to accept all Autistic people as they are, love them for who they are, embrace their diversity and teach them to navigate this world as best they can. We must teach them to be proud of themselves, especially their struggles and triumphs, so they can stand strong against the fear and ignorance in the world.

We need to show everyone that Autism is not to be feared, because sometimes the most amazing blessings come in unique packages, which we cannot understand or control. If we seize opportunities to educate people, on what Autism means to us and our loved ones, we can change the perception society has of Autistic individuals. We can start to move from discrimination to acceptance. In the words of Aldous Huxley: “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” Let’s start closing those negative doors, and opening positive doors, by being Autism Proud.

Xenophobia “Our way” is defined as: “An unfounded fear of the unknown, based on a lack of knowledge and understanding, which can have devastating effects for everyone.”

 

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

W is for WORRY

W is for WORRY

W is for WORRY

Worry is defined as:  “thoughts, images and emotions of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats. As an emotion it is experienced as anxiety or concern about a real or imagined issue, usually personal issues such as health or finances or broader ones such as environmental pollution and social or technological change” – Wikipedia

Who doesn’t Worry? We all worry, many of us from childhood. Some will worry about trivial things, and others save the worrying for the major stuff.

What does Worrying accomplish? Nothing, because worrying will not change what is meant to be. It only exhausts you mentally, physically and spiritually.

How do we stop the vicious cycles created by Worry? I don’t know. How to make better use of your thoughts and emotions is something only you can answer. Personally this is what helps me keep the Worry Monster at bay:  I work my program, trust in my Higher Power, take life One Day At A Time, and rejoice in the blessings which present themselves throughout the day.

My ex-husband said to me many times: “Stop worrying, it is such a wasted emotion.” I remember thinking at the time that was his way of not caring, or being inconvenienced by whatever crisis I was obsessing over at the time. This was long before I accepted that my life was complete chaos all the time, way before I admitted that the martyr part of me relished conflict and anxiety, light-years before I found Al-Anon and started on the path to recovery. I still worry, but at least now I can try to Let Go and Let God; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but when it does it work, it is a wonderful feeling of freedom.

As parents, there is so much to plan for and fret about. We invest all of our energy into attempting to be the best parent possible, while fearing all the time that we are failing. We put an extreme amount of unnecessary pressure on ourselves, when we should be focusing that energy on enjoying life with our greatest miracles; our beautiful, intelligent children. If we enter their world more, and spend less time in anxiety-land, we will see the endless possibilities  in everything around us, as we learn and explore with our children. If we love our children unconditionally, provide them a solid foundation, bolster their self-esteem, and support them in all their endeavors, then we will always be the BEST parents to them.

A passage from Hope For Today, which I read often, when I feel myself spiraling out-of-control, and losing sight of the joys in Our life:

“Denial steals from me the ability to see my situation clearly and honestly. Stubborn self-reliance wipes out the guidance and comfort available from my Higher Power. Resentment erodes love and goodwill in my relationships with others. Obsessive worrying raids my willingness to accept and enjoy life as it is.”

Worry “Our Way” is defined as: “An endless cycle filled with negativity and fear, which depletes our entire being, and prevents us from enjoying the daily blessings, of love and laughter, with Our family.”
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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

V is for Valid

V is for VALID

V is for VALID

Valid is defined as: “1. sound; just; well-founded: a valid reason. 2. producing the desired result; effective: a valid antidote for gloom…” – Dictionary.com

Nowadays in our society, there seems to be this need for everyone to be right, and better than the next person. If you are single, it is about having the more prominent job and valuable stuff. If you are married, it is about having the more exceptional relationship and bigger house. If you have children, it is about being more effective parents and having children who surpass the rest in every way. There appears to be this constant need for validation, that most feel can only be achieved by proving that they are far superior to others.  This mindset, and its subsequent behaviors, is something that honestly baffles me. Our approach to life, and all its scenic journeys, is valid for Us, if it works for Our family. The validity of our choices is not dependent on the beliefs or actions of others. This bible verse states it perfectly: “Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility.” – Galatians 6:4-5 (God’s Word ® Translation)

Each of us is unique, as is our journey in life. Some of us may walk similar paths, but just as no two people are exactly alike, no two journeys will ever be perfect mirrors either. We are diverse in our beliefs, feelings, and experiences; which causes us to have varying approaches to almost everything in life. When we compare ourselves to others, we do ourselves, and the person we are praising or criticizing, a great disservice. We can never truly know what motivates people to take the different paths they choose. Judging them and their choices as wrong, simply because it is different than ours, only fuels the spread of negativity, misinformation and prejudice. This is one of the reasons, I dislike the terms right and wrong, because those concepts are extremely subjective. Different choices are not right or wrong, they are simply different; however they are valid for the person making the choice at that time. We can choose countless approaches to life, traveling a labyrinth of diverse paths, and still end up in the same spot as many other people. Our paths are not better or worse than others, they are simply unique to us and the decisions which were best for Our family at that time. What is true to our beliefs and how we wish to see our children progress in this world, will not always match what our family, friends or society desire; however, that is the beauty of our world, we don’t have to agree with others, we simply have to know that our choices are true to the values and dreams Our family strives for. In the words of Arthur Schopenhauer: “The difficulty is to try and teach the multitude that something can be true and untrue at the same time.”

Valid “Our Way” is defined as: “Making decisions based on Our beliefs and vision for Our family, whether it be trivial or significant choices, as long as they work for Our family, they are the true path for us.”

 

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

U is for Unique

U is for UNIQUE

U is for UNIQUE

Unique is defined as: “1. being the only one of a particular type; single; sole; 2. without equal or like; unparalleled…” – Dictionary.com

We are all unique, even identical twins differ on the inside, and this amazing gift should be a source of pride, not shame. Being unique is a blessing that should be treasured and explored. We should rejoice in our differences and embrace diversity in others. If we were all the same, the world would be quite boring; we would never grow, experience new things or find exciting adventures. Some where along the way, our society has started to frown upon people being different, and the new push to simply blend in, kind of baffles me. Instead of discouraging extraordinary people from shining, we should be celebrating their distinctive abilities and appreciating the new perspectives they provide in the world.

As a parent, I want my children to take pride in all that they are and all that they do. I want them to simply be themselves and truly know how amazing and special they are. Regardless of what abilities our children were born with, they all have a God-given potential that we should be careful not to limit. Our children can and will achieve their dreams, in their own way and own time, so we must be careful to ensure those dreams include celebrating their individuality.

When I read the following passage, I cried because it sums up perfectly my wish for all children:
“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are?
We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a Marvel. You are Unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”  – Henry David Thoreau

Unique “Our Way” is defined as: “Everything we are, and the endless possibilities we have in the universe, as long as we follow our own path and proudly explore our originality in all that we do.”

 

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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