Tag Archives | brilliance

Sometimes being fair and honest can seem a little harsh

If you’ve followed my blog at all, or even gotten to know me on Twitter or Facebook, you should already know that I’m all about the limitless potential of all children, with or without Autism. My whole goal is to not just raise awareness but to have people understand and accept people with Autism for who they are.

However, you should also know that I’m never one to forget just how hard Autism can be on a person. I’m not the type of person to write about the good and/or bad without acknowledging that the opposite is also true.

The situation

I like to come up with my own “quotes” or thoughts that I share, some personal insight that perhaps others may or may not share. I try to inspire or get people thinking as much as I can.

Recently, one such quote has been “corrected” a few times now on me, which is why I bring this up in this post.

No matter the severity, never underestimate a person with Autism. There could be brilliance struggling to get out.

On more than one occasion, some parents have tried to tell me that it’s not “there could be brilliance”… it’s “there is brilliance”.

Let’s be fair

The truth is, I am an optimist and believe that anything is possible, anyone is capable of anything but I’m also very grounded in reality. The reality is that not everyone is brilliant… Autism or not.

Now, some Autistics discover a powerful strength in one specific field, whether it be music, math, art… what ever. Some are so amazing that they are classified as a savant.

The fact is, most Autistics are not savants though.

I realize that it’s going to sound harsh (see post title) but in reality it’s not. Not every single person with Autism is brilliant. It’s just not any more likely than it is for any other people.

As I said, it’s not to say that they can’t be brilliant at something, or work really hard to become brilliant… but the fact is just that, not everyone is brilliant.

My answer to those who correct me

My answer to those people is: “I said what I meant and I meant what I said.

no labelsI can’t, in good conscience, refuse to label all Autistics as disabled or slow or having a low IQ and then turn around and label them all as brilliant. If I am expected to avoid labeling all Autistics to the negative, then I must also avoid labeling all Autistics to the positive as well.

Instead, I’ll focus on potential because everyone has potential. I’ll focus on possibilities because anything is possible. 

But I will not place unrealistic expectations or insinuations on anyone in an attempt to be overly optimistic and happy sounding.

I’m sorry if this post sounds a bit like a rant or if it sounds a little more negative than I usually am, but the next time someone corrects something I say in such a manner, it’ll be far easier to point them to this thread than it is to try to explain it all over again in 140 characters or less.

Don’t put a label on Autistics that you wouldn’t put on anyone else. Not everyone is brilliant. Not everyone is dumb. But everyone has the potential to be great.

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Our Greatest Wish, Our Greatest Fear

We, like most parents of an Autistic child, have always had but one simple wish for our son… that he could be normal, or at least, have a normal life. We look towards the future and all we see is heartache, sorrow, misery and solitude. Even at the age of 4, we could already see how hard it would be for Cameron to have friends, to socialize, to be normal enough so that he won’t be teased.

We don’t know if he’ll ever live on his own, we don’t know if he’ll ever have a girl friend… much less a wife or family.

There is just so much we fear for him that it literally keeps us up at night talking about it. We are powerless to do anything about it but still we stay awake at night wondering…. what can we do?

However, as I lay awake last night thinking about it yet again, I began to realize that my greatest wish of having him be normal, was also my greatest fear. What if Einstein truly was an Autistic person? What if Tesla was Autistic? How many great minds through out history have changed the world all due to the fact that their brains were simply wired differently than a ‘normal’ persons? And what if someone had made them normal?

I got to thinking about how every parent sees unlimited potential in that new baby the first time they hold it in their hands… that tiny little bundle of new life could change the world, with the proper guidance and support.  Then I got to thinking about how there are some truly amazing Autistic people in the world.

I would like to share some examples of current day brilliant Autistic people:

Temple Grandin.
This woman did not speak until she was four, and hated most of her childhood but eventually went on to finish college with a doctorate and is a successful scientist and public speaker. She has designed more than half of all the slaughter house systems in the US because her methods are more humane and more efficient. And if you doubt me, Time has picked her as one of the 100 most influential people of 2010.

Stephen Wiltshire
Stephen lives in a world of his own, very quiet, very alone. He didn’t say his first words until he was 5 but when he turned 11, he drew a perfect picture of the city of London after having flown over it only one time. Since then, he’s been named the ‘Human Camera’ because he can successfully draw every detail of any city he flies over. Here is some a video of him flying over, and then drawing Rome, right down to the number of windows and columns. You can read more about him here.

You can read up on some more in this article and keep in mind, since Autism is still largely unknown to us, many others through out time could have been Autistic.

Now then, that brings me back to Cameron… if by some miracle, we found a way to make Cameron be ‘normal’, what might he be missing out on later in life. What might he have accomplished that we would be taking away from him.

I think back to the day I held him in my hands for the very first time and a whole world of potential and possibilities flowed through my mind, I thought he could grow up to be amazing! As he got older, he was compared to Einstein because of his delayed speech and I got to thinking… comparing him to Einstein, for better or worse, is really very amazing.

Now all I know is, if there’s greatness there, it can’t be forced or held back… only guided. And if it’s not there, that’s ok too. He’s already been compared to Einstein, that’s way better than I can say for myself.

I can’t wish for him to be normal and for him to be exceptional at the same time. That’s not fair to him, that’s not fair to me. He is who he is, and to me, he’s already very amazing.

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