A “Defining” Moment

I am a huge proponent of embracing your child’s diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder.  I know first-hand the diagnosis will reap your child the services he or she will need—but where does the label end and the child begin?

The 7-year old boy in this story is truly a hero in that he saved a four-year old from drowning. It is the title of the article that perplexes me.

If the 7-year old boy was diabetic, would the title be “Diabetic Boy Saves Four- Year Old from Drowning?”  I hardly think so yet it’s a medical fact that stress can cause the blood glucose levels to rise which may have made it difficult for a diabetic child to save someone just as it was for this child with asperger’s, as suggested by his dad.

All we hear about today is “Autism Awareness” and the importance of making autism known globally so research and services can broaden.   I concur with the awareness efforts.  Let’s heed caution, however, when proclaiming autism exists across the world, that we don’t let it be the only defining aspect of our children-or worse become the bar that parents of autistic children measure their expectations.

Children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have many challenges and they can vary in severity per individual.  They hold, however,  many other attributes, and where their weaknesses challenge them, their strengths and spirit shine superior.  Much like the marathoner with one leg, the paralyzed artist, or the blind superstar, I believe autistic children know instinctively to hone their other skills to compensate for those lacking.

Perhaps the title of this article is in fact helpful, as it lets parents and the community know that autistic children are capable of achieving many if not all the things children without the diagnosis are.  They too can follow a path where their desires and passions take them and become authors, movie directors, leaders, teachers, scientists, doctors, athletes and above all…heroes.

One Response to “A “Defining” Moment”

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  1. So very right. I have two children on the spectrum…each extremely different in their challenges and gifts. The old saying hold true: You meet one person with autism, you meet one person with autism. Each is an individual, each so much more than their diagnoses.

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