In a few hours, I will be teaching a course at a local college about ASDs, an ASD 101 of sorts. I have decided that my pre-class warm-up won’t be to review my slides again. It will be to revel in all the reasons I am so blessed to know and work with individuals with ASDs.
Please join me in creating this list. What do you cherish about your loved one with ASD? What do you love about yourself, if you are an individual with ASD?
1. Honesty, honesty, honesty. It engenders trust, respect, humor, and, yes, those sticky little faux pas.
2. A sense of humor that cannot be matched. (Most recent case in point: In complimenting a client’s skill growth, he quipped, “How should I deal with that growth? Remove it, watch it, scrape it?” Maybe you had to be there, but I was on the floor laughing.)
3. Integrity — not to be confused or mislabeled as rigidity, black-and-white thinking, or rule-governed behavior. Integrity — standing up for what you believe in with pride and strength.
4. Curiosity, not just about why Pi is an infinite number but also about things far-more esoteric, perhaps useless, and infinitely (pun intended) annoying about NTs.
5. An undying spirit to make friends, no matter what the last bully/jerk has said about Pokemon.
6. Remembering what I said last week when I’ve forgotten (purposefully or not).
7. Putting things into perspective (maybe not the NT perspective, but maybe it should be). “You’re having surgery, Jeanne?” “Yep, on Monday.” “Well, you’ll get to stay home and play video games. ”
8. Perseverance not to be confused with perseverating (that nasty diagnostic symptom). I will tell you all about why the Stamp Act was repealed, how I beat Halo:Reach on legendary, and why the Chicago O’Hare airport is a engineering disaster.
9. The expectation to not assume the worst . “Don’t do it, mom, don’t,” a client said the other day. “Don’t say.” Mom interrupts, “Well, I was proud of you, Hugh.” “Yeah, mom, and that word — proud — assumes I couldn’t do it in the first place. I could and can and will, when the time arises.”
10. Logic. “I don’t need geometry to buy groceries. Why should I do it?” I’m still trying to figure that out.
What would you add?