Freeing the soul that is locked within

Low functioning (severe) individuals with Autism are often referred to as being trapped in their own world or being in a body that simply doesn’t work the way it should. There is a new movie (Wretches & Jabberers) coming out that I think will illustrate this concept beautifully.

Most recently, there was a news article referring to how Autistics really do understand you even if they can not speak and you do not get a response. Honestly, Carly Fleischmann probably is the best example of this to date… a young girl that was unable to speak for most of her life until she approached a computer keyboard and began to type out full, coherent sentences.

There is a lot going on here that I think a lot of different people easily forget. Here is how I see the forgetting being broken down:

  1. Parents of children that have Autism yet are still higher functioning, or even with Aspergers, often forget that other parents have children that hurt themselves, others, have yet to be toilet trained or even speak.
  2. Individuals with Autism/Aspergers see it as a gift as well as a curse, sometimes simply as a gift.. I’ve even seen some go so far as to think they’re superior from everyone else. To these people, many times, they see no reason to do anything at all except welcome the gift for what it is. This can make some parents quite upset when their children are so bad off that they see it as nothing but a curse.
  3. Parents of the low functioning children sometimes forget that their children is likely very aware of what they say and do around them. Often talking to others as if they’re not there, when they are… getting upset at them for something beyond their control, for saying hurtful things out of frustration… they forget that they wouldn’t say these things if their child was listening… they are listening.

There are a couple of key points to all of this that I think are often missed as well, not on purpose and certainly not at all times… but from time to time, we let it slip out of our memories and thoughts.

As difficult as it is to have a special needs child, it is still just as hard or even harder to be that child.

We often get wrapped up in the stress that we forget our child is even a human being.. not literally, but figuratively. We forget their thoughts, emotions and own frustrations are in there… we don’t see it or hear it, but they’re there. They’re in a prison right there beside you and they can’t get out. You think you have it hard that they won’t give you a hug? Imagine how hard it is that they so wish they could… but can’t.

There could be brilliance struggling to get out.

I often say “No matter how severe, never underestimate a person with Autism. There could be brilliance struggling to get out.” I was corrected that I should say “is” as opposed to “could be” but again, we have to be realistic… not every person with Autism is brilliant. They are certainly wonderful, beautiful people with unlimited potential… but not everyone is brilliant, Autism or not.

But in the very least, there is an average person in there… brilliant or not, they’re amazing in their own right. Don’t expect there to be the next Einstein or Mozart in there that you have to release… they’re probably not. But they are still your children.. your perfect children.

And they don’t need the pressure of greatness pressed on them. They simply need to just be. They simply need to have your acceptance, your understanding and most of all, for you to never forget who they are. They’re in there.

This is where I feel there needs to be a cure.

Not necessarily a way to strip away Autism or even prevent it, but for right now, we need a cure to break the shell.. to let these children (and adults too!!) be able to not only speak but express emotions, function properly and become independent.

I don’t care what vaccines might do, or what living close to a highway may cause… all of those studies talk about risk. As in, percentage points. None of those studies mean that you do X and you’ll have a 0% chance of having a child with Autism. And until that does come to be, we need to be focusing on getting those low functioning individuals talking.

Cure the curse, leave the gift.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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5 Responses to Freeing the soul that is locked within

  1. Claire January 24, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    I enjoyed reading this posting. It helps me keep an open mind. Eloy (12 y.o.)is high functioning because he speaks, dresses himself, is potty trained, etc. But Eloy also has the comprehension of a 4-5 yr old. He has advanced slowly and I am so proud of his accomplishments. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. mylindaelliott January 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Interesting post. I hate the terms high functioning and low functioning. It sounds like we’re talking about a piece of equipment or something.

    Anyway, I have a daughter that is extremely verbal and one who isn’t. Same daughters one is more independant that the other too. Neither one is better or worse than the other.

    As long as we divide ourselves along these lines and others, nothing gets done…
    Just my 3 cents. 🙂

  3. Sharon January 24, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    I like the reminder that while it is difficult for us parents of autistic children, it is equally if not harder for the child.

    That said, my son, Lucas who’s 14 years old and non-verbal, is truly a happy kid. I know when he’s afraid or upset and fortunately I don’t witness that often. If I can always keep him happy, I think I’d have done a good job as a parent.

    Off to tackle independence issues now!

  4. Gina @ Special Happens January 24, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    I’ve found myself believing more and more that it’s harder for him (or a post under that name)…it’s harder for them. To be trapped inside…can’t fathom.

    I can’t say I haven’t been guilty of forgetting he’s right there when speaking of him, though I’ve never said derogatory, so much as factual, but without acknowledgment. Something I’ve changed.

    Re a cure: I’m glad you said that. There’s so much of a dividing line on this issue. Cure versus acceptance and appreciation. I don’t see why there can’t be all. Acceptance, appreciation, but a cure…a ‘therapy’ that helps our kiddos reach their potential. Maybe to no longer be locked within…yet still retain the quirks that make them so lovable?

  5. Kate Gladstone January 25, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    You write — about people with my diagnosis — “But they are still your children.. your perfect children.”

    Don’t you DARE call me “perfect”!

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